Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team are seeking a repeat of last year’s victory on the high-speed gravel roads of Rally Finland this weekend (26 to 29 July). It’s a home event for the team, who are based close to the service park in Jyväskylä, and their Finnish drivers Jari-Matti Latvala and Esapekka Lappi. Ött Tanak can also count on large support from the crowds, coming from neighbouring Estonia.
Team Principal Tommi Mäkinen is hopeful of another win for the team: “It was very special for us to win the rally last year and our aim is to do the same this time. We know that the Yaris WRC is a strong car on these types of roads, and all three of our drivers feel confident about the fast stages. I hope they call all be fighting for victory,” he said.
Rally Finland is the fastest event on the WRC calendar, taking place on smooth gravel roads through forests. The stages feature frequent jumps and crests, making accurate pace notes and car positioning critical. The high speeds make time differences between the cars much smaller than usual, so any mistakes can have a big impact on the results.
The rally route has been significantly revised this year, being almost 65 per cent different from 2017. Forty per cent of the route is on roads that are new to the event. The action starts on Thursday evening on the mixed-surface Harju stage in Jyväskylä, followed by 10 stages on Friday, mainly to the west of the town. Eight stages are scheduled for Saturday in the south-east, near Jämsa, covering more than 88 miles. There are four further stages on Sunday, culminating in the Power Stage at Ruuhimäki.