The Toyota Gazoo Racing WRC team had a strong shakedown day on ice and snow in Rally Sweden.

Speaking about the opening day, Toyota technical director Tom Fowler said:

“We’ve had a good day and now we’re ready for the first full-length stages tomorrow. We had a successful shakedown this morning. We were very happy with our performance on the first runs, when our cars posted the three fastest times. That was probably the most representative part of the shakedown, as the stage conditions then deteriorated very quickly with so many cars passing through. A big factor here will be the melting of the snow and ice in the warmer temperatures we’re experiencing this week. We’re confident that in the morning, with not many cars running in front of us, we should have nice conditions. On the second pass, the conditions will be much worse. Managing the tyres well and making sure that we have enough studs left through each loop will be key.”

Ott Tanak ended the shakedown in fourth place 1.9s behind Thierry Neuville and speaking following the action he said:

The first stage here is a challenging one but we got through it with no problems. Tomorrow it looks like we should have the best possible conditions running early on the road, so it’s going to be a key day for us and it’s very important to have a good performance. We saw in shakedown that there could be quite a lot of gravel coming through on the second pass, so tyre management will be tough. The car was behaving well and I was confident, so everything is looking good and we are well-prepared. Let’s see what the morning brings.”

Jari Matti Latvala ended the day in fifth place and speaking following the action he said:

“It’s always great to start the rally in Karlstad and even more so for my 197th start! I felt some pressure to get through that stage, but now I can focus on the real action tomorrow! We have some big snowbanks on the stages so it should be very enjoyable to drive. We just hope that the weather doesn’t get too mild, as then the gravel comes up and can destroy the studded tyres. In shakedown, the car was feeling very good on the first pass in the icy conditions, and we tested a couple of ideas for the second pass. Now I know what we need to do for those conditions

Kris Meeke ended the day in ninth place and speaking following the action he said:

The first stage here in Karlstad is always a tricky one and my aim was just to get through it cleanly. There wasn’t a lot of snow so it wasn’t very enjoyable to drive. Shakedown was good for us: We had a good rhythm on the first couple of passes. On the third loop it started to get quite rutted, and I hit a bump that pushed the car into a snowbank. But I was generally happy with the speed. With the milder weather the conditions will be mixed this weekend, but the car is certainly nice to drive on the frozen roads and I’m eager to get started in the morning.”

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