The Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team will compete on some of the fastest roads in the FIA World Rally Championship when they take up the challenge of Rally Poland this week (29 June – 2 July), the eighth round of the 2017 season. Hopes are high the team will be able sustain the strong performance they showed last time out in Sardinia, where all three cars finished in the points.
Although it will be the fourth consecutive WRC round to be held on gravel, it is a very different prospect to the previous events, with driving over soft, sandy and flowing stages. High speeds can match those experienced on Rally Finland, so it will give the team further opportunities to develop the performance of the Yaris WRC.
Once again, three cars will be entered, for Jari-Matti Latvala, Juha Hänninen and Esapekka Lappi. To prepare for the rally, all three have taken part in a test on gravel roads in Estonia, similar to those they will encounter in Poland.
Tommi Mäkinen, Team Principal, said: “It should be a good test for the aerodynamics of our car at high speed, which is an area where we have normally been working well. Poland should also be less hard on the car, after some of the rough rallies we have seen recently, but of course you can never tell for sure how it will be until you get there. In terms of objectives, the drivers know what to do so I will just let them get on with it while doing everything I can to help them focus and stay concentrated.”
Rally Poland is based in Mikolajki in the north west of the country and the event will kick off with a super special stage in the town on Thursday night. Friday and Saturday feature two loops of four stages, returning to Mikolajki at the end of each day. The rally concludes on Sunday with two runs through two stages, including the new 11.6-mile Paprotki test that serves as the event’s closing power stage.
2017 FIA World Rally Championship for drivers after round seven:
1 Sebastien Ogier 141
2 Thierry Neuville 123
3 Ott Tanak 108
4 Jari-Matti Latvala 107
5 Dani Sordo 70
6 Elfyn Evans 53
7 Craig Breen 43
8 Hayden Paddon 33
9 Juho Hänninen 29
10 Kris Meeke 27
11 Esapekka Lappi 20
2017 FIA World Rally Championship for manufacturers after round seven:
1 M-Sport World Rally Team 234
2 Hyundai Motorsport 194
3 TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WRT 143
4 Citroen Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team 97