The TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team is celebrating a second straight victory after Ott Tanak followed his Rally Finland triumph by securing victory on Rallye Deutschland.
The result is the maiden win on asphalt for the Toyota Yaris WRC. As in Finland, the team achieved a double podium result, with Esapekka Lappi finishing in third place to help Toyota climb to second in the manufacturers’ championship and close to within 13 points of the lead.
Tanak almost led the rally from start to finish, only briefly conceding the lead after SS2. He carried an advantage of 43.7 seconds into the final day, which he managed carefully through the two runs over the 29-kilometre Grafschaft vineyard test.
He sealed the win on the Bosenberg Power Stage, where he came within 0.1s of repeating his fastest time in Finland. It was Tänak and co-driver Martin Järveoja’s third win since joining Toyota this year, the pair’s second on Rallye Deutschland in as many years, and one that brings Tänak closer to the two drivers ahead of him in the championship.
Lappi started the day occupying fifth position, and moved up into third with a clean run through the first stage of the day. He was third fastest on the Power Stage as he and co-driver Janne Ferm claimed their second podium in the space of three events and their first on asphalt in the WRC. It also strengthens Lappi’s fine fourth place in the drivers’ standings in his first full season at this level.
Jari-Matti Latvala had to retire from the rally on the first stage of the day due to a hydraulic pump failure that caused his car to lose drive. He had begun the day in third overall and only 0.8s away from second place after a strong performance on Saturday when he won two stages.
Tommi Makinen (Team Principal):
“This is another great moment for our team. Ott has once again been outstanding all weekend. The only disappointment was what happened to Jari-Matti this morning. I am very sorry for him as we were confident he could perform well on today’s stages. Bad luck seems to be following him but we try to support him as best as we can. Esapekka did a brilliant clean drive with no mistakes, which are very easy to make on this rally. Everybody has worked very hard to achieve this great result on asphalt. And everyone is motivated to give their maximum effort for the rest of the year.”
Jari-Matti Latvala (Driver car 7):
“On the road section to the first stage I stopped. And when I selected first gear it didn’t take the gear. The hydraulic pump stopped, and although I could switch to the manual gear lever, there was a lot of stress for the gearbox and eventually we lost drive completely. We have had a lot of bad luck this year, but I had a great feeling this weekend. The car’s performance was very good, I was really enjoying the fight and that’s the most important thing.”
Esapekka Lappi (Driver car 9):
“It has been a difficult weekend but it was also a clean one with no issues and that has brought us this podium. There was a lot of drama for the others yesterday and this morning as well. That is rallying and we have been in that position before. I think we made some good progress during the weekend. I think I still need some more mileage to understand what the limits are when these roads are dirty. There is not much room for mistakes and I really didn’t want to make one this time.”