Toyota Gazoo Racing’s WRC Team moved a step closer to claiming the FIA World Rally Championship manufacturers title following Elfyn Evans’ second-place finish in Rally Spain on Sunday. The Welshman’s result means that he remains in the race for the championship having cut the points deficit to his teammate and defending champion Sebastien Ogier from 24 to 17 with just Rally Italy remaining this season.
Speaking following the action, Evans said:
“Second place is a positive result but it’s not so easy to be happy when we made such a good start to the weekend. Unfortunately it faded away a little bit and I didn’t feel completely at one with everything. There was perhaps a little bit more to gain from this weekend. The good thing from the weekend is that we managed to close the points gap and that the championship is still open. Realistically it’s a big gap to close in one round, but as we experienced last year, anything can still happen and we’ll try our best once again at Monza.”
Sebastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia finished the rally in fourth and in doing so they remain in the lead for the championship and speaking following the action, Ogier commented saying:
“Coming here I was targeting more than fourth position, but it is still good points towards the championship. It was a close fight today and we definitely tried in the first three stages; then the rain on the last one did not help with my strategy of not taking risks, and I was definitely on the safe side there. But overall, we have to remember that this weekend is another positive step for the championship and that’s what matters the most. It’s not over yet though, so we’ll have to be good at Monza and try to repeat the success we had there last year.”
Kalle Rovanpera ended the event in fifth place and speaking following the action he commented saying:
“Overall it has been quite a good weekend for us. There was a lot of learning, especially on Friday, but it got better with the setup and with my driving as the weekend went on. Today we were aiming for the Power Stage but the conditions were tricky and it was drying for the guys behind us on the road, so we didn’t have the chance to fight for more. We didn’t quite find the perfect feeling and not the pace that we wanted, but we tried our best and it was a solid weekend.”
Akio Toyoda (Team Founder) commented saying:
“Just before this rally, I received a message from Jari-Matti. He told me that regaining the manufacturers’ championship as a team principal and celebrating together with me was one of his dreams. Three years ago, as a driver, he was having a very tough season. His first win that year was at the final event in Australia and his victory brought the team’s manufacturers’ title in 2018. I clearly remember how happy and excited I was. I, as a driver, was participating in a rally in Japan on that day. When I got the news, I shouted with joy and sent him a congratulatory message right away. I am sure that his dream will come true in Monza, and am looking forward to celebrating together with him.
The drivers’ and co-drivers’ champions were not yet decided either. I simply hope that Seb & Julien and Elfyn & Scott will compete without regrets until the very end, and I’m sure the team will prepare the best cars for them to do that.
The next rally will be the last event we compete in with the current Yaris WRC. Since we came back to WRC in 2017, we have been always saying “let’s keep making the Yaris WRC stronger”. I hope we can have a solid competition in Monza and that the crews and our fans will see the Yaris WRC is the strongest in the last event. I am confident that the team will make it happen!
P.S. to Julien,
I really hope Monza will be a great event for you as it will be your last rally. I wish I could witness your final event in Japan. I’m still disappointed it didn’t happen… Good luck!”
Jari-Matti Latvala (Team Principal) commented saying:
“In the end this weekend was not as strong for us as it could have been. It’s important that we learn for the future about why we were struggling at times and how we can react better. But there are still positives: Firstly, that all three cars finished in the top five without any problems. Also, second place for Elfyn is another good result for him and it keeps the fight for the drivers’ title alive until the final round, which is obviously exciting for the championship as a whole. The manufacturers’ championship wasn’t quite decided in our favour this weekend, but our target now is to secure both titles in style at Monza.