Sunday, July 14, 2024


Toyota expands its line-up to 5 WRC Rally1 entries for Finland, Latvala to steer Rally2

Toyota will field five Rally1 cars when the World Rally Championship begins in Finland next month, while team principal Jari-Matti Latvala will drive a Rally2 automobile.

Rally Finland has today released the list of 80 cars entered for the famous gravel rally, which might be the ninth round of the WRC season from 1-4 August.

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There are 10 Rally1 cars on the entry list, half of that are Toyota GR Yaris Rally1s, a part of an expanded line-up from the Japanese marque whose rally team is predicated within the rally host city of Jyvaskyla.

Regulars Elfyn Evans and Takamoto Katsuta might be joined by part-time drivers Kalle Rovanpera and Sebastien Ogier, while it has already been announced that Sami Pajari will end his Rally2 profession and make his Rally1 debut at this round.

Confirmation of Ogier's participation comes after the team was yet to announce whether the Frenchman will give you the option to race in Latvia later this month, following his absence from last weekend's Rally Poland on account of a crash during reconnaissance.

The three-car Hyundai Rally1 line-up will feature Finn Esapekka Lappi, who joins regular drivers Thierry Neuville and title challenger Otto Tanaka. M-Sport will field two regular entries driven by Adrien Fourmaux and Gregoire Munster.

Also in Finland, 18-time WRC winner Latvala will return to competition on the wheel of the Rally2 version of the GR Yaris, which the Finn helped develop ahead of the automobile’s launch this 12 months.

Jari-Matti Latvala, Toyota Gazoo Racing Team Principal, Elfyn Evans, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota GR Yaris Rally1

Jari-Matti Latvala, Toyota Gazoo Racing Team Principal, Elfyn Evans, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota GR Yaris Rally1

Photo: McKlein / Motorsports images

Latvala will join the Rally2 team, which also includes favourites Oliver Solberg, Teemu Suninen, Emil Lindholm, Gus Greensmith and Pierre-Louis Loubet.

This might be Latvala’s second consecutive season in Rally Finland, having finished fifth within the one-off race last 12 months in a GR Yaris Rally1.

“It’s great that we have 10 Rally1 cars in our entry, three of which are driven by Finns, which is a good story for us,” said Kai Tarkiainen, Rally Finland Director.

“Especially Sami Pajari, who was the Flying Finn Future Star in 2019, drove a Fiesta Rally4 here and really ended up within the bushes. But he showed his speed and made huge progress after that. Going from his first WRC event to a Rally1 automobile in five years is a Cinderella story.

“The undeniable fact that Toyota has shown such commitment by fielding five Rally1 cars is something special. The special stages will feature three world champions: Kalle Rovanpera, Sébastien Ogier and Ott Tanak, who may have to be very strong to beat the defending champion Elfyn Evans.

“Seeing Latvala jump into a Rally2 car and battle it out with all these hungry youngsters will be a real treat for all the spectators. It will also be fascinating to see how he compares with Oliver Solberg and all the others at the front who will be curious to see how they compare with Latvala.”

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