It’s been 17 years but now we are only one day away from the return of Toyota Gazoo Racing at Rallye Monte-Carlo. The rally runs from the 19th to 22nd of January and will see the WRC cars take to the tarmac under changeable weather conditions with a high chance of ice and snow. This truly will be a great test for the new Yaris.
Toyota Gazoo Racing racing to win with an impressive driver line-up. They are led by Tommi Mäkinen – a four-time winner of both the WRC and the Rallye Monte-Carlo – and their driver line-up comprises Jari-Matti Latvala (partnered with co-driver Miikka Anttila in car No10), one of the world’s fastest rally stars, and the vastly experienced Juho Hänninen (with co-driver Kaj Lindström in car No11).
Mäkinen said: “The most important thing is to go to the Monte-Carlo with a relaxed and open attitude. It depends so much on the conditions there, and everything can change in a split second. It’s hard for me to say where we really are in terms of performance, and it’s unlikely that the Rallye Monte-Carlo will give us any definite answers, as it such a different rally to any other.
“Our target is to get good mileage from this rally, so I will be happy if we have both cars at the finish and arrive in the same minute as the leaders. That would be a fantastic way to continue our development.”
Latvala added: “Two months ago, I would never have imagined that I would be starting Rallye Monte-Carlo with Toyota, so that’s really exciting. The car feels very strong but in terms of performance it’s difficult to say, as everyone is coming with a new car. In any case this year is all about development: For the Monte I would like to finish the rally well, then maybe towards the middle of the season we can start to think about podiums.”
Hanninen said: “I’m not thinking so much about the result in Monte: I just want to have a relaxed drive and of course get to the finish. We still have plenty to learn but I think it will get easier once we are into the season.”
There is no doubt that TGR are in this for the long run as they have stated their priority this year will be car development but they will still want to impress fans on the track.