The Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team will embark on their second FIA World Rally Championship season this week, fielding three Yaris WRC cars on the Rallye Monte-Carlo (25 to 28 January).
With a revised car and a strengthened driver line-up, they will be looking to build on a rewarding 2017 debut year in which they claimed two outright victories. Ott Tänak, a two-time winner last season, will make his debut for the team, alongside established drivers Jari Matti Latvala and Esapekka Lappi.
All three will be looking to emulate the success of Team Principal, Tommi Mäkinen, a four-time world champion, who said: “This time last year we didn’t really know where we stood as we prepared to give the Yaris WRC its debut. In the coming season I believe we can be a lot more consistent, which is really what we need in order to fight for the championship titles.
“The break since Rally Australia at the end of last year has not been very long, but we have been very busy trying to make our car even better. Rallye Monte-Carlo is always a tough event to start the season. Although I won it four times during my career, I didn’t prepare for it very well back then. Our three drivers have been doing much better preparation, with a lot of testing, so we’re hoping for a good result.”
Rallye Monte-Carlo is the oldest and one of the most famous rallies in the world, known for changeable weather conditions that can vary from one end of a stage to the other. This means tyre choices can make a big difference to performance, as can the input from the ice-note crews who provide the teams with last-minute information on conditions.
The rally has a ceremonial start in Monte Carlo’s Casino Square prior to two night-time stages on Thursday. Friday is the longest day of the event, with more than 150km of action across three stages, each run twice either side of a service stop in Gap. After five more stages on Saturday, the rally returns to Monaco ahead of four final tests on Sunday, including three passes through the famous Col de Turini.
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