TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team drivers Jari-Matti Latvala and Esapekka Lappi are part of a close battle for victory heading into the final day of Wales Rally GB, where 13.5 seconds separate the top four drivers. Latvala is second overall, only 4.4s away from the lead, with Lappi 7.4s behind that in third. Ott Tänak was leading the rally but had to stop in SS16 after sustaining radiator damage.
Today the crews faced the longest day of the rally, with 150 competitive kilometres split across nine stages on classic gravel roads in Mid Wales, all to be tackled without a mid-day service. Over the morning loop of five stages, Tänak increased his lead – which he had held since Friday morning – to 48 seconds, but he sustained a broken radiator in SS16 and stopped in order to try and prevent damage to his engine. The team expects that the car will be ready to restart tomorrow under Rally2 rules.
Latvala and Lappi had spent the morning in a tight fight with each other and their rivals: Lappi got ahead on SS10 before Latvala reclaimed the place on SS13. Latvala then went on to set the fastest time in both SS14 and SS17, putting him in a strong position to contend tomorrow for his third victory in Wales, with Lappi not far behind.
Tommi Mäkinen (Team Principal)
“It was obviously very disappointing that Ott had to stop, as he had been going so well. We have to do a careful investigation into what happened, and if there are some modifications needed then we have to react as soon as we can. On the plus side, Jari-Matti is now fighting for the win and it is very, very close between him and Ogier. It is a great opportunity and if he can find full confidence in the morning, then I am sure he can do it. Esapekka is right there as well and hopefully both will be on the podium tomorrow.”
Jari-Matti Latvala (Driver car 7)
“After Ott had to retire, I realised that the door was open for the victory and I started to push harder, and the feeling was getting better and better. On the final stage I stalled in the ruts in a hairpin and I lost a few seconds, but we still have a day to go. It has been a while since my last win, so the motivation is definitely very high to go for it tomorrow.”
Press release TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WRC