The Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team claimed an emphatic victory on home turf on Sunday with Ott Tänak powering to an impressive win on Rally Finland. He was joined on the podium by team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala who clinched third place.
Tänak, whose victory was witnessed by Toyota President Akio Toyoda, said: “It has been a perfect weekend, everything worked as we wanted. We had the ideal preparation and full support from the team. If you work together as one, then these kinds of results are achievable.”
Across the four days of the event, the Toyota Yaris WRC was the dominant car, claiming fastest times on 18 of the 23 gravel stages. Estonian Tänak and co-driver Martin Järveoja led almost throughout, engaging in a close fight with the Citroën of Mads Osterberg on Friday. In spite of an unfavourable road position, he took control as the day unfolded, stretching his advantage over the Norwegian to 5.8 seconds by the close. Latvala was running third and Esapekka Lappi eighth after losing time with a stall on the opening stage of the day.
Saturday proved exceptional with all three Toyota drivers featured in a clean-sweep of stage wins, including a top-three lock-out of three consecutive stages in the afternoon. Tänak and Latvala consolidated their positions, while Lappi leapt four places up the leaderboard to fourth.
Lappi crashed out of contention on Sunday’s opening stage, but Latvala remained on the pace with two further stage wins. Tänak’s victory in the final Power Stage added five bonus points to his tally. The result moves the Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team to within one point of second place in the manufacturers’ championship, while Tänak has narrowed the gap to the top two in the drivers’ standings.
Round nine of the WRC season will be Rallye Deutschland (Germany) on August 16 to 19. The event is in effect three asphalt rallies in one, divided between twisting roads through the Mosel vineyards, the notoriously tough Baumholder military area and the fast country lanes of the Saarland.
FINAL RESULT, RALLY FINLAND
1 Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja (Toyota Yaris WRC) 2h35m18.1s
2 Mads Ostberg/Torstein Eriksen (Citroen C3 WRC) +32.7s
3 Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (Toyota Yaris WRC) +35.5s
4 Hayden Paddon/Seb Marshall (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +1m35.6s
5 Sebastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (Ford Fiesta WRC) +2m15.0s
6 Teemu Suninen/Mikko Markkula (Ford Fiesta WRC) +2m19.2s
7 Elfyn Evans/Daniel Barritt (Ford Fiesta WRC) +2m29.5s
8 Craig Breen/Scott Martin (Citroen C3 WRC) +3m08.4s
9 Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +3m51.8s
10 Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders Jaeger (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +8m37.4s
Retired Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm (Toyota Yaris WRC)