Latvala hopes to turn things around with Toyota in New Zealand

Latvala hopes to turn things around with Toyota in New Zealand

Toyota advances the 2022 season in two speeds. First, there were plenty of early season successes: 5 wins in 7 races, total domination of the two championships and the high point, and a historic quad in the Kenya Safari Rally. Then there were the failures, with three straight defeats against Hyundai, most recently, at the Acropolis, stinging with only one Yaris in the top ten at the end.

If the term “crisis” sounds too strong for a team that is still far ahead in both championships, the three successive failures have had the knack of questioning Toyota’s team. In recent rallies, Hyundai seemed to have taken the upper hand not only in terms of performance, but also in terms of reliability.

For the next event, which will take place in New Zealand for the first time in a decade, the Finnish-Japanese team wants to reverse the trend. “The roads in New Zealand are quite similar to those in Finland, without the bumps, said Jari-Matti Latvala, Toyota Team Principal. I hope they fit in with Yaris. the last gathering In Greece it was tough, we know that and we worked to find out the reasons. New Zealand is a completely different walk, with other roads and stages. We’ll see. »

“Tanak will want to prolong the title fight.” Beware Latvala

On the other side of the globe, Toyota is hoping to get its head back where it belongs. In the penultimate stage of the 2022 season, the Japanese brand will go to Auckland with 4 cars at the start and the presence of Sebastien Ogier. The experience of the eight-time world champion will be significant: Gapençais is the only driver to have actually competed in Rally New Zealand among the current drivers, and that was in 2010 with Citroën.

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Jari-Matti Latvala is counting on this team spirit to put an end to the excellent dynamics for Hyundai and Ott Tänak at the end of the season. “It is a great place for drivers and I am sure we will fight as a team. However, we must remember how [Ott] Strong tank. He’s had some good gatherings and will want to extend his title fight with Kali [Rovanperä] as long as possible. »

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