Toyota GAZOO Racing World Rally Team has clean swept the fourth and final day of Rally Sweden, confirming the pace of its Yaris WRC cars on ice and snow.
Finland’s Esapekka Lappi, competing in a WRC-spec car for the first time on snow, led a team trifecta in the penultimate stage and won the final Power Stage, to improve two places in the overall result to fourth.
New team driver Estonia’s Ott Tänak won six special stages, including the first two stages of the event. He headed a team trifecta in SS10 and won the first of the final day’s three stages.
All three Toyota entries finished in the top nine – in an event where fresh snow falls and rutted roads made starting position in the stages a factor.
Team principal Tommi Mäniken said the team was able to show good performance winning the three stages on the final day.
“Esapekka was very quick today to gain two positions and win the Power Stage,” he said. “We must not forget it was his first time on snow in a WRC car and next year for sure he will be even stronger.”
Lappi said he was really happy for the team as well as personally.
“To get the Power Stage win and gain two places today was very good,” he said. “Overall, the rally was quite strong; I wasn’t expecting this kind of speed from my side.”
Tänak said better road position and pace on the third day resulted in him winning some stages.
“This was my first rally in the Toyota WRC with a gravel-style set-up and we have learned a lot of things,” he said.
Jari-Matti Latvala, last year’s maiden Yaris WRC rally winner in Rally Sweden, finished day four strongly.
“The team did a good job and the car was handling very well,” he said. “It was both quick and reliable, and that is important.”
Toyota GAZOO Racing now heads to the first gravel event of the season, Rally Mexico on March 8-11 – where off-season development on the Yaris WRC engine cooling system will be tested in high ambient temperatures and at high altitude.