16 time World Rally winner Jari Matti-Latvala has joined Toyota Gazoo Racing for the 2017 World Rally Championship season.
The Finn who drove for Volkswagen last year until the German manufacturer pulled out of the sport at the end of the season, will be joined at Toyota by Jaho Hanninen.
Speaking about his move to Toyota, Latvala commented by saying:
started my rally career in a Toyota Corolla GT back in 2001 and my first competitive outing in a World Rally Car was behind the wheel of a Corolla WRC in 2003, In many ways it feels like I’m coming home.
Latvala who will drive the all new Toyota Yaris went on to say:
I’m really happy to join the Toyota Gazoo Racing WRC team from the very start and lead this new adventure with them. I feel lucky to be part of this story and I hope we will take a lot of victories in it.
WRC2 champion Espekka Lappi joins the team as test driver and will drive in a third Toyota Gazoo Racing Yaris for select events during the 2017 season.
Speaking about the announcement, Lappi commented by saying:
This is a tremendous opportunity for me and my co-driver Janne Ferm. It’s a dream come true. We have both worked so hard over the years to get to this point and finally, it’s here. We’re excited and motivated about joining the team and we’re extremely grateful for this opportunity. I can’t wait to start our testing programme with the Yaris WRC.
The 2017 World Rally Championship gets underway with the Monte Carlo Rally which takes place from January 19-22.