Toyota set for “crucial” Rally Mexico WRC pre-event check
Latvala’s Toyota squad has headed to Spain this week for a multi-day check, starting in the present day, to arrange for subsequent month’s opening gravel rally of the season in Mexico.
Whereas Toyota largely dominated the 2022 season by sweeping each the drivers’ and constructors’ titles, the GR Yaris showcased weak spot on tough gravel rallies reminiscent of Sardinia and the Acropolis in comparison with its Hyundai and M-Sport Ford rivals.
The 2 rallies in query had been the one occasions final 12 months the place Toyota was absent from the rostrum, such was the energy of the GR Yaris.
Following a stronger begin to 2023 made by Hyundai and M-Sport, resolving this tempo deficit has turn into a key goal for Toyota’s 2023 marketing campaign and this week’s check is a beneficial alternative to know if the crew has made floor on this space.
Mexico’s return to the WRC calendar for the primary time since 2020 is probably going to supply an intensive check for the GR Yaris, which underwent aero and engine updates over the low season.
Talking to Autosport in Sweden, Latvala admitted the crew was concentrating on to start the following section of the GR Yaris’ improvement on the check.
“I believe for Mexico and the gravel check which we’re going to do it is extremely essential as a result of final 12 months we had been struggling on these circumstances the place it was a tough floor with the onerous tyres,” mentioned Latvala.
“This mix is one thing the place we had been missing pace so this subsequent check earlier than Mexico is essential.”
Toyota will head to Mexico off the again of a disappointing Rally Sweden that noticed the model miss out on podium for under the second time on the snow occasion because it returned to the WRC in 2017.
Kalle Rovanpera, Jonne Halttunen, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota GR Yaris Rally1
Picture by: Toyota Racing
World champion Kalle Rovanpera, who received in Sweden final 12 months, achieved the Toyota’s finest end in fourth whereas Elfyn Evans was a distant fifth. M-Sport’s Ott Tanak took the win from Hyundai duo Craig Breen and Thierry Neuville.
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When requested to clarify the crew’s drop off in tempo in comparison with final 12 months, Latvala added: “I believe final 12 months the automobiles had been very new and for us they had been very dependable and that was one of many components that was serving to us.
“The second factor, the circumstances had been completely different, it was plus levels earlier than the race and the roads had been getting fairly rutted in the course of the recce. That was disturbing Kalle when he was opening the highway and for Elfyn as effectively.”
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