Toyota GAZOO World Rally Team has finished strongly in Rally Germany, claiming two stage victories on the last day, and taking second and third places in the final Power Stage.
The team’s trio of Finnish drivers are now all in the top ten of the world driver’s championship, with Jari-Matti Latvala fourth in the standings and the team third in the manufacturer’s championship.
Rally Germany is only the second asphalt rally Toyota has contested in its return year in world rallying with Yaris WRC cars.
The three Yaris WRC drivers – Latvala, Juho Hänninen and Esapekka Lappi – collectively claimed five stage victories, with Hänninen fourth overall in the event, based in the Saarland area.
Lappi and Latvala secured bonus points in the drivers’ title by finishing second and third in the Power Stage.
Hänninen’s two stage victories included the 42km Panzerplatte through a military area, rated one of the most demanding stages on the world rally calendar.
Toyota GAZOO World Rally Team principal Tommi Mäkinen said the team is now confident of its performance on tarmac.
“It’s looking good now for the future and now we will go to the next round in Spain (round 11 of 13) where we again should improve our performance,” he said.
Latvala tempered his pace in the Power Stage due to concern about a possible tyre puncture and still finished in the top three.
“I had a touch in the left-hand corner very early in the stage and I didn’t push, because I was afraid I had a puncture,” he said.
Hänninen lost time on the first day when rain made for slippery conditions before recovering strongly towards the end.
“I’m very happy with this result,” he said. “The car has been great and the feeling has been good; I enjoyed pushing on the last morning.”