Toyota expands to five WRC Rally1 entries for Finland, Latvala to drive Rally2

Toyota expands to five WRC Rally1 entries for Finland, Latvala to drive Rally2

Toyota will field five Rally1 cars when the World Rally Championship heads to Finland next month, while team principal Jari-Matti Latvala will drive a Rally2 car.

Rally Finland has today released an 80-car entry list for the famous gravel rally, which hosts the ninth round of the WRC season from 1-4 August.

The entry list features 10 Rally1 cars with half of those Toyota GR Yaris Rally1s as part of an expanded line-up from the Japanese brand, whose rally team is based in the rally’s host city Jyvaskyla.

Regulars Elfyn Evans and Takamoto Katsuta will be joined by part-time drivers Kalle Rovanpera and Sebastien Ogier, while it has already been announced that Sami Pajari will graduate from Rally2 to make his Rally1 debut at the round.

Confirmation of Ogier’s appearance comes with the team yet to announce if the Frenchman will be fit to compete in Latvia later this month after being ruled out of last weekend’s Rally Poland following a recce crash.

Hyundai’s three-car Rally1 line-up will see Finn Esapekka Lappi join the full-time drivers – championship leader Thierry Neuville and title contender Ott Tanak. M-Sport will field its two full-time entries driven by Adrien Fourmaux and Gregoire Munster.

Finland will also see 18-time WRC rally winner Latvala return to competition behind the wheel of a Rally2 version of the GR Yaris which the Finn played a role in helping develop before the car’s launch this year.

Jari-Matti Latvala, Team principal Toyota Gazoo Racing, Elfyn Evans, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota GR Yaris Rally1

Photo by: McKlein / Motorsport Images

Latvala will join a Rally2 entry that includes frontrunners Oliver Solberg, Teemu Suninen, Emil Lindholm, Gus Greensmith and Pierre-Louis Loubet.

This will be the second consecutive season Latvala has participated in Rally Finland after finishing fifth in a one-off outing driving a Rally1 GR Yaris last year.

“It’s brilliant to have 10 Rally1 cars on our entry, three of them driven by Finns, which is a good story for us,” said Kai Tarkiainen, Rally Finland clerk of the course.

“Especially Sami Pajari, who in 2019 was the Flying Finn Future Star, drove with a Fiesta Rally4 here and actually ended up in a bush. But he showed his speed and after that, he’s taken huge steps. To go from your first WRC event to a Rally1 car in five years is a Cinderella story.

“To see such a commitment from Toyota, bringing five Rally1 cars to the event, is special, and we’ll have three world champions out on the stages in Kalle Rovanpera, Sébastien Ogier and Ott Tanak who’ll need to push hard to beat defending winner Elfyn Evans.

“Witnessing Latvala jump into a Rally2 car and fight all these hungry youngsters will be a treat for all the spectators, and it’ll be fascinating to see where he slots in against Oliver Solberg and all the others up at the front who’ll be curious how they measure up to Latvala.”

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