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    Rally Australia – Final – TOYOTA GAZOO Racing wins the rally and the title in Australia

    November 18, 2018
    TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team claimed the FIA World Rally Championship manufacturers’ title* in style at the final round in Australia with a rally victory for Jari-Matti Latvala. Esapekka Lappi finished in fourth place to help Toyota clinch the manufacturers’ crown in just the second season of its return to the WRC. It is the fourth occasion that Toyota has won the manufacturers’ title in the WRC and the first time since 1999. The strong performance of the Toyota Yaris WRC was demonstrated again on the final round, with Ott Tänak and Latvala moving to the top of the leaderboard during Saturday. Sunday was characterised by very muddy and slippery forest stages with the tricky conditions catching out a number of drivers. These included Tänak, who had to retire on the penultimate stage after hitting a tree. Latvala, co-driven by Miikka Anttila, avoided mistakes and took three stage wins on the final day to clinch victory by 32.5 seconds: the team’s fifth win of 2018. Lappi also won a stage to complete a strong drive in his final event before departing the team. Tänak, Latvala and Lappi finished the season third, fourth and fifth respectively in the driver’s standings, with Tänak fighting for the drivers’ title until the final day in Australia, and all three contributing significantly towards the manufacturers’ title. Quotes: Akio Toyoda (Team Chairman)  “Congratulations to Jari-Matti and Miikka for the Rally Australia win! I was very glad to see them on the top of the podium at the end of the year after what has sometimes been a tricky season. And with this victory, we could win the manufacturers’ title. I feel so grateful, as team chairman, that we could get such a great result in the second year of our challenge after returning to the WRC following 18 years away. I am so grateful to Tommi, who has kept strengthening the Yaris WRC to win this title, all the team members who supported Tommi, and the six drivers and co-drivers who kept driving the Yaris towards our goal. Thank you very much, and huge congratulations! I also feel glad that we could share this victory with the fans who kept cheering for us, and also our partners who have fought with us as one team. Thank you very much for supporting us.” Tommi Mäkinen (Team Principal) “It’s an absolutely amazing feeling today. This was the toughest final round of a season that I can remember. Ott’s retirement so near the end was a big disappointment, but it was absolutely brilliant that Jari-Matti could win again. Esapekka also helped us score the points we needed. We started this project three-and-a-half years ago and we have developed much faster than we imagined. Last year we were here to learn and to gather data. In the second half of this season we were able to find a lot of improvements with the car. This is the result of the huge effort from everybody in the team, and I

    Rally Australia – Day 2 – The Toyota Yaris WRC leads into the last day of the season

    November 17, 2018
    TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team heads into the final day of the 2018 season occupying first and second positions on Rally Australia courtesy of Ott Tänak and Jari-Matti Latvala. Esapekka Lappi completed a strong Saturday for the Toyota Yaris WRC in fifth overall. The team is closing in on its aim of the manufacturers’ championship, while Tänak continues to keep the pressure on in the drivers’ title fight. The team began the longest day of the rally with Latvala holding third position, Tänak in fifth and Lappi sixth. Within three stages during the morning loop, Latvala and Tänak had moved up into first and second places. With wins on six of the day’s 10 stages, Tänak was able to move ahead of his team-mate, and ended the day with an advantage of 21.9 seconds. Latvala was faced with the worst conditions when heavy rain hit the end-of-day super special stages, but he was able to hold on to second place with a margin of 4.4s. Lappi was also a stage winner during the afternoon and closed to within 3.8s of fourth position. Quotes: Tommi Mäkinen (Team Principal) “It is looking very good for us at the end of the day. It was a great day for us with no major dramas whatsoever. The conditions in the super specials were not absolutely fair for everybody but fortunately it didn’t cause any big changes. All three of our drivers are doing a very good job, and I think they all know what is required tomorrow. To finish the season with a result like this would be brilliant.” Jari-Matti Latvala (Driver car 7) “I had a really good morning. The car was working really well, I was enjoying the driving and we were able to gain some places. The afternoon started well but I was probably too aggressive with the tyres. They became very worn, so I had to back off and I started to lose some time. Then in the super specials we were unlucky with the conditions. Still, we are in second place and we just need to bring that to the end: this would be really important for the manufacturers’ championship and for myself and to finish the season with a good feeling.” End of day two (Saturday): 1 Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja (Toyota Yaris WRC) 2h07m52.0s 2 Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (Toyota Yaris WRC) +21.9s 3 Hayden Paddon/Seb Marshall (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +26.3s 4 Mads Ostberg/Torstein Eriksen (Citroen C3 WRC) +46.6s 5 Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm (Toyota Yaris WRC) +50.4s 6 Sebastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (Ford Fiesta WRC) +1m44.8s 7 Elfyn Evans/Daniel Barritt (Ford Fiesta WRC) +2m04.6s 8 Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +2m35.2s 9 Teemu Suninen/Mikko Markkula (Ford Fiesta WRC) +2m49.0s 10 Craig Breen/Scott Martin (Citroen C3 WRC) +6m26.8s (Results as of 19:00 on Saturday, for the latest results please visit www.wrc.com) What’s next? The final day of Rally Australia consists of three stages all run twice: Coramba, Sapphire and Wedding Bells. There is service at Coffs Harbour

    Rally Australia – Day 1 – TOYOTA GAZOO Racing holding a strong position in the season finale

    November 16, 2018
    Jari-Matti Latvala, Ott Tänak and Esapekka Lappi all demonstrated the strong performance of the Toyota Yaris WRC as the final and deciding round of the 2018 FIA World Rally Championship season got underway in Australia. Latvala completed the first day of stages in third position, with Tänak and Lappi overcoming adversity to hold fifth and sixth respectively overnight: positions that help the team remain on course to clinch this year’s manufacturers’ title. Courtesy of their top five positions in the drivers’ standings, the Toyota trio were among the first cars on the road over Australia’s dusty gravel stages. Nonetheless, they locked out the first three positions on the opening test and each set a fastest time from the first four stages. Consistently strong pace from Latvala ensured that he ended the day just 8.7 seconds away from the lead and set for a much more favourable road position for Saturday, the longest day of the rally. On SS5, both Tänak and Lappi were caught out by a watersplash: the heavy impacts with the water caused Tänak to lose front bodywork from his car, affecting the handling, and forced Lappi to a brief halt with a misfire. Both maintained good speed thereafter however, with Tänak within 16.9 seconds of the lead with two days remaining. Quotes: Tommi Mäkinen (Team Principal) “We had a very good start this morning, with all three drivers proving to be quite competitive and having a good feeling with the car. Unfortunately, Ott and Esapekka both suffered in the same watersplash: I think that maybe they were a little bit too sideways and this caused them problems. Jari-Matti was strong for most of the day and I think it is generally looking good for the team as we try to win the manufacturers’ championship. We have good road positions for tomorrow and we can be confident in our performance.” Jari-Matti Latvala (Driver car 7) “Today has mostly been very good. This morning I did some mistakes and lost a little bit of time, but in the afternoon loop in the forest stages I was really satisfied with how it went: the driving was very consistent and clean. I did lose some time on the super specials, as I had the hard tyres and I was missing some traction. Still, everything remains close and tomorrow we will have a good road position, which is going to be important.” End of day one (Friday): 1 Mads Ostberg/Torstein Eriksen (Citroen C3 WRC) 53m37.4s 2 Craig Breen/Scott Martin (Citroen C3 WRC) +6.8s 3 Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (Toyota Yaris WRC) +8.7s 4 Hayden Paddon/Seb Marshall (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +12.5s 5 Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja (Toyota Yaris WRC) +16.9s 6 Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm (Toyota Yaris WRC) +28.3s 7 Sebastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (Ford Fiesta WRC) +38.2s 8 Elfyn Evans/Daniel Barritt (Ford Fiesta WRC) +45.2s 9 Teemu Suninen/Mikko Markkula (Ford Fiesta WRC) +47.2s 10 Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +1m11.9s (Results as of 18:30 on Friday, for the latest results please visit www.wrc.com)

    Rally Australia 2018 – Preview – TOYOTA GAZOO Racing targets title glory in Australia

    November 9, 2018
    TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team travels to Rally Australia (November 15-18) for the final round of the 2018 season, aiming to claim the manufacturers’ championship in which it currently holds a 12-point lead. Ott Tänak remains in contention for the drivers’ title, 23 points behind the leader, with his fellow Toyota Yaris WRC drivers Esapekka Lappi and Jari-Matti Latvala also within the top five in the standings. Based in Coffs Harbour on the New South Wales coast, mid-way between Sydney and Brisbane, Rally Australia features a mixture of gravel roads, from twisting forest tracks to more open and flowing country roads. After shakedown on Thursday morning, the first competitive action will be on Friday to the north of Coffs Harbour, with the new Orara East and Coldwater stages and the unchanged Sherwood all run twice. Saturday’s loop is based to the south, and includes two new stages that use parts of the old Nambucca test, plus Urunga and the Raleigh raceway. Both Friday and Saturday end with two runs over a short, water-side asphalt test in Coffs Harbour. The final day of the season on Sunday features three stages all run twice, with the Wedding Bells Power Stage followed closely by the podium ceremony. Quotes: Tommi Mäkinen (Team Principal) “This has been a thrilling season with many ups and downs, and everything is set for a very exciting final round in Australia. We have a great opportunity in front of us: to win a championship in just our second year would a fantastic achievement. As always, it is not going to be easy, but we have reasons to be confident. We showed good performance on gravel in Britain and in Spain, and we seem to have found some improvements in these kind of conditions, which are quite similar to what we should face in Australia. Everybody is working hard towards our target, and with a strong car and three strong drivers, I think we have a good chance to reach it.” Jari-Matti Latvala (Driver car 7) “I am really looking forward to Australia. It is a rally that I really enjoy a lot. Firstly, the atmopshere is relaxed and the weather is usually great, so it’s a nice place to end the season. Then there are the stages: they have made a lot of changes to the route this year, but we have driven most of the roads before and we know that they are usually quite fast, which is of course what I like! I am going there confident after the speed we have shown recently, and I hope to get a good result to help us to win the championship.” What happened last year? The Toyota Yaris WRC completed its debut season with a competitive showing in Australia. Jari-Matti Latvala held second place until an off on the final stage, but still clinched fourth in the drivers’ championship. Team-mate Esapekka Lappi completed the rally in sixth overall as the team finished third in the manufacturers’ standings.
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