TOYOTA GAZOO RACING TRIUMPH ON RALLY AUSTRALIA AND CLAIM WRC MANUFACTURERS’ CROWN
Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team took the FIA World Rally Championship manufacturers’ title* in style on Sunday with an impressive victory for Jari-Matti Latvala on Rally Australia. With team-mate Esapekka Lappi bringing home his Yaris WRC in fourth place, Toyota was able to take the title in just its second season since returning to the top tier of international rallying.
Team Principal Tommi Mäkinen said: “It’s an absolutely amazing feeling, today, this was the toughest final round of a season I can remember. This is the result of the huge effort from everybody in the team and I am sure this success will further motivate us to improve further in 2019.”
Team Chairman and Toyota President Akio Toyoda, said: “I feel so grateful, as team chairman, that we could get such a great result in the second year of our challenge after returning to the WRC following 18 years away. I am so grateful to Tommi, who has kept strengthening the Yaris WRC to win this title, all the team members who supported Tommi, and the six drivers and co-drivers who kept driving the Yaris towards our goal. Thank you very much, and huge congratulations. I also feel glad that we could share this victory with the fans who kept cheering for us, and also our partners who have fought with us as one team. Thank you very much for supporting us.”
The strength of the Yaris was to the fore again as Ott Tänak and Latvala moved to the top of the leaderboard during Saturday’s action. Several drivers fell foul of the muddy, slippery conditions on Sunday’s forest stages, including Tänak who had to retire from the event on the penultimate stage after colliding with a tree.
Latvala and co-driver Miikka Anttiila avoided the hazards and claimed three stage wins on Sunday to finish 32.5 seconds ahead of their nearest rivals and deliver the team’s fifth win of the season and Toyota’s fourth WRC manufacturer’s championship. Lappi also posted a stage victory in his final event with the team. Tänak, Latvala and Lappi completed the season in the third, fourth and fifth places respectively in the drivers’ championship, with Tänak having been in contention for the overall title right until the final day.
* Subject to final FIA confirmation
FINAL RESULT, RALLY AUSTRALIA
1 Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (Toyota Yaris WRC) 2h59m52.0s
2 Hayden Paddon/Seb Marshall (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +32.5s
3 Mads Ostberg/Torstein Eriksen (Citroen C3 WRC) +52.2s
4 Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm (Toyota Yaris WRC) +1m02.3s
5 Sebastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (Ford Fiesta WRC) +2m30.8s
6 Elfyn Evans/Daniel Barritt (Ford Fiesta WRC) +3m05.1s
7 Craig Breen/Scott Martin (Citroen C3 WRC) +6m28.8s
8 Alberto Heller/Jose Luis Diaz (Ford Fiesta R5) +22m28.5s
9 Steve Glenney/Andrew Sarandis (Skoda Fabia R5) +27m01.8s
10 Jourdan Serderidis/Lara Vanneste (Ford Fiesta WRC) +35m14.1s
Retired Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja (Toyota Yaris WRC)