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    Rally Argentina – Rally Chile – Preview – TOYOTA GAZOO Racing eyes South American gravel glory

    April 19, 2019
    A run of consecutive gravel-based events for TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team begins with a double-header in South America. First comes an established classic event, Rally Argentina (April 25-28), where the Toyota Yaris WRC claimed victory in 2018. A brand new challenge will follow in the form of Rally Chile (May 9-12). The team approaches both events with confidence along with its driver line-up of Ott Tänak, Jari-Matti Latvala and Kris Meeke, who have all tasted victory in Argentina in recent years. Part of the FIA World Rally Championship calendar almost every year since the event began in 1980, Rally Argentina takes place over a variety of gravel stages, from sandy roads in the valleys to rocky tracks in the mountains. Watersplashes are a common feature at the many river crossings, while fog is a familiar sight over higher terrain. The 2019 event remains faithful to a trusted format out of the lakeside Villa Carlos Paz resort, where the action begins with a Thursday night super special. Most of Friday’s stages take place to the south in the Santa Rosa de Calamuchita Valley, while Saturday’s stages run to the north-west in the Punilla Valley. Sunday has three stages in the Traslasierra mountains including two passes of the famous El Cóndor – the latter as the rally-ending Power Stage. Chile’s first-ever WRC round will be based in the port city of Concepción and feature medium-fast stages on smooth and compact gravel roads through forests, as well as some more open sections with views of the Pacific Ocean. Crews will have to make a full set of pace notes from scratch during the pre-event recce, and decide on a car setup without testing in Chile, which is prohibited by the regulations. Rally Chile will begin with two loops of three stages south of Concepcion on the opening day, which will end with a stage on the city streets. A compact second day features three stages each run twice closer to the city. Sunday is made up of four stages in total, starting and finishing with a stage that begins by the Bio Bio river and ends at the Pacific coast. With a gap of less than two weeks between the two South American events, the preparation for the teams is more complex, and must consider both rallies. They are defined as ‘linked rallies’ by the regulations, meaning that for cars classified in the final stage in Argentina, the same chassis, engine and transmissions (including spare transmissions) must also be used in Chile. Quotes: Tommi Mäkinen (Team Principal) “We didn’t get the results that we hoped for in our last rally in Corsica, but the confidence in the team is high going into the next two events in South America. Argentina is of course a rally that everybody knows well, including our drivers. Ott was very strong there when he won for us last year, and I think he is feeling good about his chances again. I know it’s a rally that

    Tour de Corse – Day 2 – Strong hopes of victory dashed for TOYOTA GAZOO Racing

    March 30, 2019
    Toyota Yaris WRC driver Ott Tänak’s promising chances of victory on the Tour de Corse were ended late on the penultimate day of the rally, when he had to stop and change a tyre. Before the unfortunate delay, he had won the first two stages of the day to close down the rally leader, moving back ahead by the end of the morning loop. Having to stop in the middle stage of the afternoon loop cost Tänak around two minutes and took him from first to seventh place overall. On the long last stage, he gained one position to end the day in sixth, 22.4 seconds behind the driver in front. All three Toyotas are on course to finish inside the points, with Kris Meeke and Jari-Matti Latvala moving up the leaderboard after losing time with incidents on Friday. Meeke in particular enjoyed a strong day, posting the fastest time on SS10. He ended the day ninth overall, one place in front of Latvala. Quotes: Tommi Mäkinen (Team Principal) “It is of course very disappointing what happened to Ott when he was running in such a strong position. We have to investigate very carefully the issues we have had here and why it has been happening. At least we can see that the car is very fast on asphalt and that the performance has been very consistent. All three of our drivers still have the chance to score some more points tomorrow, and then we will look forward to the coming events.” Jari-Matti Latvala (Driver car 10) “It has been a difficult day, my driving has not been good enough. This morning I was missing some performance, while this afternoon I tried to push more, but we had to stop and change a flat tyre. That was down to my mistake: On a right-hand corner there was a hole on the edge of the road and I hit it. I will try to have a good drive tomorrow: That would give us a boost at the end of the rally.” End of day two (Saturday): 1 Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) 2m56.50.0s 2 Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin (Ford Fiesta WRC) +4.5s 3 Sebastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (Citroën C3 WRC) +44.8s 4 Dani Sordo/Carlos del Barrio (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +49.9s 5 Teemu Suninen/Marko Salminen (Ford Fiesta WRC) +1m32.1s 6 Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja (Toyota Yaris WRC) +1m54.5s 7 Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm (Citroën C3 WRC) +1m59.3s 8 Sebastien Loeb/Daniel Elena (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +3m21.4s 9 Kris Meeke/Seb Marshall (Toyota Yaris WRC) +3m55.9s 10 Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (Toyota Yaris WRC) +6m35.4s (Results as of 19:00 on Saturday, for the latest results please visit www.wrc.com) What’s next? The rally heads west from Bastia for the final two stages of the rally: Eaux de Zilia, the second-longest stage of the rally, and then the Power Stage finishing just outside the town of Calvi, where the podium ceremony will be held.

    Tour de Corse – Day 1 – TOYOTA GAZOO Racing in a tough fight at the top in Corsica

    March 29, 2019
    Toyota Yaris WRC driver Ott Tänak is less than five seconds away from the lead and holding second overall on the Tour de Corse, following a strong performance on the opening day of the demanding asphalt event: the French round of the FIA World Rally Championship. The day consisted of three stages in the south of Corsica, each run twice with no mid-day service. Tänak claimed the lead on the second stage and increased it by winning SS3, although only 1.3 seconds separated him from his main rival at lunchtime. In the afternoon, Tänak produced another clean and consistent run to provisionally end the day as the leader. After Tänak’s rival Elfyn Evans was inadvertently delayed behind the Toyota of Kris Meeke in SS6, the team fully supported a request for Evans to be awarded the same time as Tänak. It means Tänak is 4.5 seconds away from the lead going into day two. It proved to be a tough day for Tänak’s team-mates. Jari-Matti Latvala was running sixth overall when he stopped to change a tyre on SS5, costing him three minutes and leaving him 13th at the end of the day. Kris Meeke lost around 50 seconds in the opening stage when he damaged his front-left wheel and tyre. Meeke matched Tänak’s pace over the subsequent three stages – winning one of them – before he ran wide in SS5 and hit a kerb. Carrying suspension damage through the day’s final stage, he lost nearly three minutes in total. He is 16th overall, but points remain well within reach for both he and Latvala with two days remaining. Quotes: Tommi Mäkinen (Team Principal) “Ott has done a good job through the whole day with no mistakes whatsoever. The car was not absolutely perfect for him, as he had an issue with the front-left damper was damaged at some point, so I don’t think he could push completely flat-out and he did well to manage it. Tomorrow is another long day and I’m sure he can keep up the fight. Jari-Matti and Kris just need to have a reset tomorrow morning after the time they lost today. Kris’ performance was very fast, and I think he was a bit unlucky with what happened in the morning, as was Jari-Matti this afternoon. There is still a long way to go and they just need to keep enjoying the driving.” Jari-Matti Latvala (Driver car 10) “The middle stage of the loop was difficult for me today. In the morning my notes were not working well there and we lost a lot of time. We did a lot of work on that over lunch and I was really confident that we could make a good time in the afternoon pass. Two kilometres into the stage there were quite a lot of cuts where gravel had come onto the road, and I think a sharp stone went through the tread. Slowlycaused the tyre to started to slowly going down – it was just

    Tour de Corse – Preview – The Toyota Yaris WRC takes on the twisting turns of Corsica

    March 24, 2019
    TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team takes the lead of the drivers’, co-drivers’ and manufacturers’ standings to the French island of Corsica for the first pure asphalt round of the season, the classic Tour de Corse. Championship leader Ott Tänak will look to continue his recent run of podium finishes on an event where he finished second last year, with team-mates Jari-Matti Latvala and Kris Meeke also out to replicate strong performances on previous visits to Corsica. The Tour de Corse is also known by its nickname of ‘The Rally of 10,000 Corners’ thanks to its narrow and twisting stages. Stages are on average longer than on any other round, which coupled with abrasive asphalt makes tyre wear a major consideration. With the mountain roads often lined by rock faces on one side and steep drops on the other, there is little room for error. The route has been changed significantly for 2019, with new stages making up 75 per cent of the competitive distance. There is a new start location in Porto-Vecchio in the south of the island, where two loops of three stages will be held on Friday with no service until the end of the day at Bastia airport. Saturday features three stages each run twice around the north east of the island, before heading west for the final two stages ahead of the finish in Calvi. Quotes: Tommi Mäkinen (Team Principal) “We will go to Corsica feeling optimistic about our chances, particularly after our strong performance there last year when we were fastest on half of the stages. It is a very challenging rally, as I found out many times when I was driving, but our drivers have all shown they can be fast there. With so many corners and really long stages, you need to have full confidence in the car, otherwise you can lose a lot of time. That is why it is very important to get the setup right. This year, that will be especially true on Friday because there isn’t a proper service in the middle of the day to make big changes. But I know that our team has been preparing as well as possible and hopefully we can have another strong weekend.” Jari-Matti Latvala (Driver car 10) “Corsica is a rally I always look forward to. The asphalt is abrasive so provides good grip, and the road is usually pretty clean. The island itself is very beautiful too. I like the changes to the route this year. A couple of the stages were used when I won the rally in 2015, so I have good memories of those. I had a good test earlier this week: We did 200 kilometres and tried a lot of things, not only for this rally but also development for the future. On Rallye Monte Carlo I struggled with understeer, so we worked on that and improved the turning, as well as the braking, and I’m feeling more confident with the car. Now I’ve got
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