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    Rally Sweden – Friday – Toyota Yaris WRC drivers battle for the lead on snow, ice and gravel

    February 16, 2019
    TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team drivers Ott Tänak and Jari-Matti Latvala both fought over the lead on the first full day of Rally Sweden, which featured a wide variety of stage conditions amid warmer-than-usual weather in the season’s only full winter rally. Tänak ended the day in second place overall, only two seconds behind the leader. In the morning, the drivers at the front of the field enjoyed consistent conditions, and Tänak took advantage to win two of the three stages and lead the rally during mid-day service. With the ice and snow thawing in the above-freezing temperatures, the stages featured a combination of gravel and slushy snow for the second pass during the afternoon loop. Latvala immediately moved from third overall to claim the rally lead on the afternoon’s first stage. He was holding second when he got stuck in a snowbank on the final stage of the day, but will restart on Saturday. Tänak was disadvantaged by his road position in the afternoon, but made up 11 seconds compared to the leader with a great performance in the final stage. In his second event with the team, Kris Meeke ended the morning loop in eighth position and then showed strong pace in the afternoon, quickly climbing as high as fifth position. A brief stall at the start of SS7 contributed to him ending the day in eighth, but still part a very close fight for fifth. Driving a fourth Yaris WRC entered by his own GRX Team, Marcus Grönholm stopped on SS4 after going off the road, but will also restart on Saturday. Quotes: Tommi Mäkinen (Team Principal) “It has been a very challenging day with the conditions but our cars have been performing well. What happened to Jari-Matti this evening was disappointing for everybody. He had been doing a very good job. But Ott has also been doing well, especially with his road position, and I think he is in a really good situation for tomorrow. Kris has been feeling good in the car again and the times were coming during the afternoon, when I think his style was suiting the conditions better.” Jari-Matti Latvala (Driver car 10) “For the most part, today was a great day. The car has been really good to drive and I was enjoying a big fight with Teemu Suninen. I was using my tyres a lot which was OK when we had the gravel ruts, but then the last stage was icy with more snow on the top of the surface. I was pushing too hard for the conditions on my used tyres and it caught me out. Now it will be important to get back out there tomorrow and to try and get a good feeling with the driving.” End of day two (Friday): 1 Teemu Suninen/Marko Salminen (Ford Fiesta WRC) 1h11m05.3s 2 Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja (Toyota Yaris WRC) +2.0s 3 Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders Jaeger-Amland (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +17.8s 4 Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin (Ford Fiesta WRC) +28.6s 5 Esapekka

    Rallye Monte-Carlo – Day 4 – 5th place overall for Jari-Matti and Miikka

    January 27, 2019
    Latvala was also in the fight for a podium place and eventually finished fifth, only 1.7 seconds from fourth. Meeke was sixth after losing several minutes changing flat tyres earlier in the weekend, but he quickly gelled with his new car in his first WRC start for more than eight months. He came second to Tänak on four stages and then won the finale, claiming the maximum five bonus points. Jari-Matti Latvala (Driver car 10) “It was a close fight for the whole weekend, but I wasn’t at my best, I must say. I’m disappointed that I couldn’t take fourth place today. But I realise now that I made a mistake in our test and I developed the wrong sort of setup for the rally. Because of that, my car was understeering too much for my driving style, and the confidence wasn’t there to go faster. But we had a clean weekend with no errors and we have scored some good points, which is important to start the season. We know that the car is capable of winning.” FINAL RESULT, RALLYE MONTE-CARLO 1 Sebastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (Citroën C3 WRC) 3h21m15.9s 2 Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +2.2s 3 Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja (Toyota Yaris WRC) +2m15.2s 4 Sebastien Loeb/Daniel Elena (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +2m28.2s 5 Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (Toyota Yaris WRC) +2m29.9s 6 Kris Meeke/Seb Marshall (Toyota Yaris WRC) +5m36.2s 7 Gus Greensmith/Elliott Edmondson (Ford Fiesta R5) +13m04.6s 8 Yoann Bonato/Benjamin Boulloud (Citroën C3 R5) +13m56.5s 9 Stephane Sarrazin/Jacques-Julien Renucci (Hyundai i20 R5) +14m06.8s 10 Adrien Fourmaux/Renaud Jamoul (Citroën C3 R5) +16m03.4s What’s next? Rally Sweden (February 14-17) is the WRC’s only full winter event, taking place on snow and ice. Metal studs inserted into the tyres punch through the ice to find grip, while drivers use the snow banks to stay on the road by ‘leaning’ through the corners. The rally was the scene of the maiden victory for the Toyota Yaris WRC in 2017, courtesy of Jari-Matti Latvala.

    Rallye Monte-Carlo – Day 3 – Toyota Yaris WRC sets the pace en route to Monte Carlo

    January 26, 2019
    OYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team enjoyed a strong Saturday on Rallye Monte-Carlo. Ott Tänak won all four stages, and the Toyota Yaris WRC posted the two quickest times on every test. Jari-Matti Latvala is in 2.3 seconds of a podium position going into the final day, with Tänak a further 15s behind him in fifth, while Kris Meeke is also in the top six and continuing to enjoy his debut with the team. The second leg of the rally consisted of two loops of two stages north of the service park in Gap, with conditions on the road varying from snow and ice to dry asphalt. On the day’s first stage – the longest stage of the rally – Tänak and Meeke were separated by only 0.4s. Meeke was also second-quickest on the two stages that made up the afternoon loop. Latvala had been second-fastest on the day’s second stage, which moved him up into third position. He moved back to fourth place in the afternoon, but remains close to his rival with four stages remaining. In the afternoon, Tänak was the only World Rally Car driver to opt for winter tyres without studs, and his ongoing speed brought him closer to the podium battle, fighting back from the time lost changing a wheel on Friday. Jari-Matti Latvala (Driver car 10) “It’s been a great fight with Sebastien Loeb over third place today. At first he was ahead, then I was ahead, and now he’s ahead again, but the gap is very small. I was hoping that I could have kept him behind, but when the conditions were mixed, I was maybe not so strong. It looks as though tomorrow’s stages could be drier: I’ve been doing a lot of testing on dry roads so I’m quite comfortable with the car in those conditions. Hopefully that works in our favour and we can be on the podium in Monte Carlo tomorrow.” End of day three (Saturday): 1 Sebastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (Citroën C3 WRC) 2h38m30.0s 2 Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +4.3s 3 Sebastien Loeb/Daniel Elena (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +1m58.7s 4 Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (Toyota Yaris WRC) +2m01.0s 5 Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja (Toyota Yaris WRC) +2m16.0s 6 Kris Meeke/Seb Marshall (Toyota Yaris WRC) +5m26.8s 7 Gus Greensmith/Elliott Edmondson (Ford Fiesta R5) +10m12.0s 8 Yoann Bonato/Benjamin Boulloud (Citroën C3 R5) +11m43.4s 9 Stephane Sarrazin/Jean-Jacques Renucci (Hyundai i20 R5) +12m16.0s 10 Guillaume de Mevius/Martin Wydaeghe (Citroën C3 R5) +13m07.0s (Results as of 16:30 on Saturday, for the latest results please visit www.wrc.com) What’s next? After this evening’s final service, the crews drive their cars to Monte Carlo ready for the final day of action in the mountains above Monaco. Two stages will each be run twice – one of them featuring the iconic Col de Turini, and the other serving as the rally-ending Power Stage with bonus points on offer.

    Rallye Monte-Carlo – Day 2 – ‘The Monte’ bites for TOYOTA GAZOO Racing

    January 26, 2019
    Jari-Matti Latvala is the best-placed of the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team drivers tonight following the first full day of competition on Rallye Monte-Carlo, which proved to be a challenging one for the team. Latvala is in fourth overall, and in an exciting battle for a podium place with two whole days of action remaining. His team-mates Ott Tänak and Kris Meeke are seventh and eighth after both had to stop to change a wheel. Six stages were due to be run today, although the opening test was cancelled ondue to reasons of spectator safety grounds. As a consequence, the Toyota drivers were left with an unfavourable tyre selection for the remainder of the loop, having based their choices on the wintery conditions that were present in the morning’s first stage. This led to Tänak conceding the lead he claimed in Thursday night’s opening action. He was holding third overall before losing more than a minute -and -a -half when he stopped on SS7. Latvala gradually built his confidence, climbing from ninth overall to fourth, and set the joint fastest time on SS6. He is 7.4 seconds away from third place. Meeke was also gaining positions on his debut in the Toyota Yaris WRC, moving up to sixth before he also lost time on SS7. Tommi Mäkinen (Team Principal) “Rallye Monte-Carlo always brings surprises and unfortunately we have suffered from a few of those today, particularly with the punctures for Ott and for Kris. The frozen ground here this year isare allowing all of the cars to cut the corners more, and the sharp edges of the road can cause problems like this. It’s unfortunate because Ott was in a podium position and Kris has been making a really good start with us. I’m sure there is more to come from him as he continues to learn the car &nsash; just like we saw with Ott last year. Jari-Matti is very much still in the fight and let’s see what happens tomorrow.” Jari-Matti Latvala (Driver car 10) “Overall, I must say it was quite a positive day. I think we had a good strategy for this morning, but when they cancelled the first stage it affected us quite significantly. Still, I started to get a good feeling with the driving. This afternoon we played it safe and ran with four snow tyres on two of the stages. On SS7 we had a mix of tyres and I was maybe a bit too careful, but SS6 and SS8 on the snow tyres both went well and in general I’m happy. It’s good to be in the fight for the third place on the podium.” End of day two (Friday): 1 Sebastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (Citroën C3 WRC) 1h37m17.3s 2 Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +2.0s 3 Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders Jaeger-Amland (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +1m17.7s 4 Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (Toyota Yaris WRC) +1m25.1s 5 Sebastien Loeb/Daniel Elena (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +1m25.9s 6 Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin (Ford Fiesta WRC) +1m47.5s
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