The Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Championship team head to next weekend’s penultimate event of the 2021 FIA World Rally Championship season full of confidence knowing that one of their drivers is guaranteed to be crowned champion in the final event of the season in Italy next month.
The team has had a busy build-up to Rally Espana as they announced that Esapekka Lappi will return to the team for the 2022 season.
Sebastien Ogier goes into the rally next weekend with a 24 point lead in the championship as a result of his four rally victories so far this season and looking ahead to Spain he said:
“I’m really looking forward to Spain and to being back on asphalt again. It will be nice to have all three days of the rally on asphalt because those roads are really fun to drive. Also, for us it will good to not be sweeping gravel on the first day of the rally like we have been doing for much of the season. We are still in a strong position for the championship. Spain will be the first realistic chance to claim the title and I know what I need to do to make it happen. When I have the chance to win I try to fight for it, and this will be the most simple way to achieve our goal.”
Elfyn Evans heads to Spain will the bit between his teeth following his win last time out in Finland, his fifth career WRC victory and speaking ahead of the event next weekend he said:
“The win on Rally Finland was a great result for us. The drivers’ title is still a long shot for us but once more we’ll be giving our best in Spain and trying to get the best possible result there. The asphalt roads in Spain are really fantastic to drive, so I’m looking forward to competing on an all-asphalt event this time around. So far whenever I’ve driven the Yaris WRC on asphalt, the surface has usually been quite dirty or provided very low grip, so I’m excited to drive the higher-grip roads in Spain in this car. That said, at this time of year the weather is never guaranteed to be dry even in Spain. If it does rain, as we’ve seen in previous years, it can still be quite a tricky and demanding event.”
“I have driven in Spain twice before in WRC 2 and I always liked the days on asphalt there, so for me it’s a positive thing that it will be a full asphalt rally again. If the weather is good then it’s a really nice event. The roads are really fast and flowing and a bit different to the other rounds we normally do on asphalt. It’s more like circuit driving and you need to be really precise, but when you get it right then it’s really enjoyable. The characteristics were quite different in Ypres but there I had a good feeling in the car in asphalt specification, and I hope we can have that again in Spain and fight for a good result for ourselves and the team.”
Jari-Matti Latvala (Team Principal) commented saying:
“It will be really nice to go back to Spain, especially now that the rally is a full asphalt event once again. The roads there are the best asphalt roads in the WRC, and I really enjoyed driving on them during my career. Of course, it is also helpful for us that our drivers leading the championship won’t have any gravel roads to sweep during the first day. It’s really exciting for us now that only a Toyota driver can win the drivers’ title, but naturally our main goal as a team in Spain will be to get enough points to secure the manufacturers’ championship. I think we have a good chance, but we need to do our work well in preparation and during the rally to get the results we need.