All three Toyota Yaris WRC drivers feature in an incredibly close lead battle after the first full day on the ultra-fast forest roads of Rally Finland. Jari-Matti Latvala leads overnight, 1.2 seconds ahead of team-mate Kris Meeke, with the team’s championship leader Ott Tänak just 2.6s away from the lead in fourth position.
The day featured 10 stages in all, and the Yaris WRC set the fastest time on all but two tests. Despite running first on the road due to his championship position, Tänak was able to hold the lead throughout the opening loop, returning to service in Jyväskylä with a margin of just over five seconds over his two team-mates.
On the second pass of stages in the afternoon loop, Tänak was at more of a disadvantage, encountering roads that had been heavily rutted after the whole field had passed through earlier in the day. Latvala immediately moved into the lead and managed to hold it until the end of the day – after winning six stages in total – even though the top four were covered by just 0.6s at one point.
Tommi Mäkinen (Team Principal)
“It has been a brilliant fight today. We know that the time gaps here in Finland are often very small, but I can’t remember when it was quite so close like this. All three of our drivers have been doing a great job, with such small differences between them: It has been amazing to watch. But we are not alone in the fight, as Esapekka has also been very fast, so they will all need to keep pushing tomorrow.”
Jari-Matti Latvala (Driver car 10)
“It’s been a really good day. There were a couple of stages where the time was a little bit down, but generally I was able to have a strong performance. It has been so tight and the pressure has really been on, so it’s pleasing to be able to keep up the speed and not make mistakes when you’re trying to find the difference anywhere you can. Tomorrow I think the morning loop is going to be crucial because there are some new sections, and the profile of the road is generally a bit different: Wider with more crests and jumps.”
Press release TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WRT