The Toyota Gazoo Racing WRC Team took their first Rally Italia Sardinia victory with Sebastien Ogier leading Eflyn Evans completing a 1-2 finish for the team. Speaking following the action, Toyota team founder Akio Toyoda commented saying:
“I’m so proud that the team could finally win in Sardinia for the first time. Finally we could enjoy the tradition of jumping into the sea at the podium, and the one-two finish should make even the salty sea water taste nice. Congratulations!
I was there in Sardinia for the rally two years ago. Preparing a towel and a change of clothes, I was already thinking about how to dive in safely. However, the Yaris WRC, which was leading the rally, suddenly slowed down on the final stage. Even now I still feel sorry for Ott who was driving the car back then.
Thanks to Seb, Julien, Elfyn and Scott, who drove really well on the very demanding roads in Sardinia, we were able to find out how delicious the sea water is. My appreciation also goes to the team members who have been working to enhance the reliability of the cars. But there is still a lot for us to do, and I’m really sorry for what happened to Kalle and Jonne. I am sure that Jari-Matti, together with all of the team members, will continue making our cars stronger already from tomorrow.
Lastly, I would like to thank our fans for their passionate support. The next event is Kenya, which will be a totally new discovery for our team. I appreciate your continued support for us.
P.S. To Dan,
We can fix a car over and over, but Takamoto cannot compete without you. I think Takamoto put your health condition first and drove steady at the end. Together you made a very good decision. Please remember that health is always the most important!
Jari-Matti Latvala (Team Principal) commented saying:
“This is a fantastic result for our team. We came here to Sardinia knowing that it would not be an easy rally for us, that we would not necessarily be able to win, but in the end we are celebrating a one-two. It was not a perfect weekend because of the problem that Kalle unfortunately had on the first day and we need to learn from this to be stronger in the future, but otherwise the three other cars were working really well on these tough stages. Overall we had performance, we had reliability and we had consistency. It’s very good news for the championship, but we know the competition is getting tougher all the time so we need to keep working if we want to have more results like this.”
Sébastien Ogier (Driver car 1) commented saying:
“This has been an incredible weekend for us: We could not have expected to come away from Sardinia a result like this. To have one-two for the team, starting first and second on the road, is a fantastic achievement. I’m also very happy that we managed to find a better feeling with the car and react after Portugal, where maybe the speed was not as great as we wanted. Unfortunately in the Power Stage we had a misfire briefly after a watersplash which was very aggressive, but we still took two bonus points which is good for the championship. If we can keep this rhythm up we can be confident, but of course it’s never that easy.”
Elfyn Evans (Driver car 33) said:
“Second place is a great result that we definitely would have taken after our struggles on Friday morning. This morning we didn’t have such a huge gap behind us so it was good to be able to extend that advantage further, and it’s probably just as well given what happened later on in the final stage. We seemed to take in some water and I wasn’t sure it was going to clear, but thankfully it did and it quickly went back to full power after that. It’s a slight disappointment not to take any extra points from the Power Stage because of that, but at the same time I’m relieved to hang on to second place.”
Kalle Rovanperä (Driver car 69) commented saying:
“Our aim today was to get as many points as we could from the Power Stage. Our starting position still made it a bit tricky, as there was some cleaning to do with only two World Rally Cars in front of us. So I had to make my own lines in many places and lost a bit of time with that, but I tried to push a lot and we came away with the third fastest time. Overall it was a really disappointing weekend from our side, but we just have to move forward. The positive thing is that the feeling in the car is good again after Portugal, and hopefully we can continue like this.”
PROVISIONAL FINAL CLASSIFICATION, RALLY ITALIA SARDEGNA
1 Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (Toyota Yaris WRC) 3h19m26.4s
2 Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin (Toyota Yaris WRC) +46.0s
3 Thierry Neuville/Martijn Wydaeghe (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +1m05.2s
4 Takamoto Katsuta/Dan Barritt (Toyota Yaris WRC) +6m11.2s
5 Jari Huttunen/Mikko Lukka (Hyundai i20 R5) +9m31.7s
6 Mads Østberg/Torstein Eriksen (Citroën C3 Rally2) +9m39.2s
7 Yohan Rossel/Alexandre Coria (Citroën C3 Rally2) +10m37.7s
8 Pepe López/Diego Vallejo (Škoda Fabia Rally2 evo) +11m03.7s
9 Jan Solans/Rodrigo Sanjuan de Eusebio (Citroën C3 Rally2) +11m26.3s
10 Marco Bulacia/Marcelo Der Ohannesian (Škoda Fabia Rally2 evo) +11m34.6s
25 Kalle Rovanperä/Jonne Halttunen (Toyota Yaris WRC) +54m18.8s
(Results as of 15:00 on Sunday, for the latest results please visit www.wrc.com)