Jari-Matti Latvala and Esapekka Lappi both secured points finishes for Toyota on Wales Rally GB, the penultimate round of the 2017 World Rally Championship. Latvala also took additional points thanks to a third-fastest time on the Power Stage. Latvala ended the rally in fifth place, less than a second behind the fourth-placed finisher, after winning two stages. Lappi was ninth, while Juho Hänninen was forced into retirement after a small mistake in tricky conditions on Saturday.
Tommi Mäkinen (Toyota Team Principal)
“I can’t really be happy with our performance, but on the positive side, we know what was holding us back and how to rectify it. During the pre-event test, we had some grippier conditions than we found on the rally. We know that we have made some big improvements in high-grip conditions, also from Rally Finland. But in Spain, we made a few changes that were in the wrong direction, so next time we will make use of this experience to prepare slightly differently.”
“Our drivers did a good job and of course we have to talk especially about Juho, who was doing his last rally of the year with us. It was a shame his rally ended the way it did, with a very small mistake that led to big consequences, especially as he had been setting such good times, but that’s motorsport. Juho has been a vital part of our test and development programme, and if we have been able to make some good achievements this year, it’s also thanks to him. So ‘thank you, Juho’ from all of us.”
“I couldn’t have gone any quicker than I did on the Power Stage: I gave it absolutely everything! This has not been a perfect rally for us, but we’re happy to score some points. We know what we can do to improve. And it doesn’t take anything away from the fact that the Toyota Yaris WRC is the best car that I’ve ever driven.”
“Conditions between the rally and the test were not exactly the same. That was one of the problems we experienced. On the polished stages [on the last day] it was impossible to get the car to turn, so that was frustrating. But I’ve still enjoyed the rally: it was fantastic to see so many spectators out on the stages. Wales is always one of the most difficult events of the year, but after Finland, it is definitely my second home rally: I’m always very happy to be competing there.”
— Jari-Matti Latvala (@JariMattiWRC) November 2, 2017
“For me, the most important thing was to get to the finish. So I made sure that I concentrated on that above everything else, in order to improve my experience of these challenging conditions. We learned a lot on this rally. So even though it wasn’t the result that we wanted, it was a very valuable experience that will help us for the future. I’m learning all the time and so is the team.”