Toyota Gazoo Racing’s Ott Tanak took the team’s third consecutive victory at their home event, the Neste Rally Finland on Sunday. Tanak who set the fastest time on the final super stage of the event came home 25.6s ahead of Esapekka Lappi and speaking following the event he said:
“It feels really good to get this victory. It was very important to get a good result here to help us in both championships. I would say that this is a perfect result to begin the second part of the season. I think it’s a great boost for the whole team and now we need to keep pushing. I focused on having a clean run through the first three stages today, and then on the Power Stage I pushed. I tried to have a fast and clean run with no mistakes, and we were able to get the maximum points. Now we need to continue in the same way, starting with Germany.”
Jari Matti Latvala came home on the podium in third place 33.2s behind Ott Tanak and speaking following the event he said:
“I’m really really happy to be back on the podium here on Rally Finland. It has been almost nine months since I last had a podium, a really really long time. I think the opportunity was there to go for second place, but this time I think it was better not to take the risk. We really needed the points for the future, not just for myself but also for the team. Today I was more relaxed than yesterday afternoon and the performance was good. This result gives us more confidence to keep fighting for more podiums in the upcoming rallies.”
It was a disappointing end to the event for Kris Meeke as he was forced to retire from the event and speaking following the action he said:
Restarting today, we didn’t have much to fight for with our road position, but I’m disappointed with myself for making a stupid error in the penultimate stage. On a long left-hander, I put car sideways and hesitated a little bit, and when I lifted off the throttle the car went more to the inside of the corner than I wanted it to. There was a big stone in the grass and we hit it. It’s really not been the weekend that I wanted, so we need to pick ourselves up before Germany.
Chairman of Toyota Gazoo Racing Akio Toyoda commented saying:
TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WRT has won Rally Finland for the third year in a row in front of a huge amount of local supporters in its other home country, Finland. The city of Jyväskylä, the centre of the rally, welcomed us with the words “Welcome to My Home Roads”, just as last year. In addition, they called our car the “Hometown Hero”. I really appreciated the local people and also all the supporters across the globe cheering us on. Thank you very much. In the last event, Rally Italia Sardegna, we felt very disappointed. For six weeks since then, the team has kept working hard with strong commitments, ‘let’s make the best result at our home rally’, ‘let’s repay the kindness of the local people supporting us’. I want to send words of celebration and appreciation to Ott and Martin stood on the top of the podium, Jari-Matti and Miikka on the third step and all the team members: Congratulations! Thank you! I really wanted to deliver this message directly to you while being soaked in champagne on the podium like last year. In this year’s Rally Finland, all three Yaris WRC crews including Kris and Seb had a big fight for the victory from the beginning. At one point on Saturday morning, they were covered by just 0.6 seconds. I saw that each of them was really enjoying to drive the Yaris WRC. I strongly believe that such hard and enjoyable drives from our six drivers and co-drivers will make the Yaris ever better! The WRC season has moved into the second half. The team will keep fighting to secure the Manufacturers’ championship and to make our driver and co-driver become the World Rally Champions. To all the fans, I wish for your continuous support for TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WRT.