Latvala Praises Toyota Yaris WRC in Wales
Monday, 30th October 2017
Seventeen-time world rally championship round winner Jari-Matti Latvala has praised Toyota's Yaris WRC car after finishing third in the final Power stage for bonus points in Rally Wales.
Latvala won two stages and was fifth outright for Toyota GAZOO Racing, just half a second off fourth and five seconds off a podium placing, after almost three hours of competitive driving in the rally's 21 special stages.
Teammate Esapekka Lappi was also in the points in ninth place, consolidating Toyota GAZOO Racing's third place in the maker's championship in its world rally championship return season.
Latvala is fourth in the driver's table as the championship heads to the final round and another gravel event, Rally Australia, beginning in Coffs Harbour on November 16. "I couldn't have gone any quicker than I did on the Power Stage," Latvala said.
"I gave it absolutely everything! This has not been a perfect rally for us, but we're happy to score some points. We know what we can do to improve and it doesn't take anything away from the fact that the Toyota Yaris WRC is the best car that I've ever driven."
Latvala has competed for three factory teams, been world rally championship runner-up three times and won 17 rallies, including two victories in Wales.
Team principal Tommi Mäkinen said the Toyota team had made big improvements in high-grip gravel conditions, as evidenced by Lappi's victory in Rally Finland. He also paid tribute to departing driver Juho Hänninen, as the team prepares to welcome Estonia's Ott Tanak in 2018.
"Our drivers did a good job (here in Wales) and of course we have to talk especially about Juho. He has been a vital part of our test and development programme," Mäkinen said.
Rally Australia will run from November 16 to 19 on gravel roads around Coffs Harbour. It is the final round of the world and Australian championships.