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Rally Monte Carlo - 19-22 Jan 17

Posted: January 17, 2017 10:08 AM - 3398 Hits

Round 1 - 2017 World Rally Championship

Live Results (Monte Carlo 2017) Also available at: rally-base results
Radio: Rally Radio on WRC.COM
News: www.wrc.com
Event Website: Monte Carlo Rally

First stage each day - Irish/UK Times
Shakedown Wed - 15:00 SS1 Thu - 19:14
SS3 Fri - 09:11
SS9 Sat - 07:08
SS14 Sun - 08:22

READY AND RARING TO GO - THE DAWN OF A NEW ERA FOR M-SPORT

Posted: January 17, 2017 9:59 AM

At the dawn of a new era for the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), M-Sport are ready and raring to go ? the EcoBoost-powered Ford Fiesta WRC making its competitive debut at this week's legendary Rallye Monte-Carlo.

Having completed precisely 8,344 kil ometres of testing across seven European countries, the wait is over. With Sebastien Ogier and Ott Tanak behind the wheel it's time to see if the hard work has paid off.

RALLYE MONTE-CARLO AN ICONIC CHALLENGE
The competitive debut of any new car brings a great sense of anticipation, but when that debut comes at one of the most challenging and prestigious events on the calendar, the pressure is on.

Rallye Monte-Carlo has gained iconic status, and it is easy to see why. As one of the most unpredictable events in motorsport, the crews will need to muster all of their talent, poise and experience alongside a little bit of luck.

The Fiesta WRCs are prepared in their asphalt specification, but this is so much more than an asphalt rally.

Frequently changing weather conditions mean that the teams can experience dry, wet, icy and snowy conditions through a single stage. Tyre strategy can make all the difference, and it is often a case of finding the best compromise over a stretch of road where there is no definitively clear choice.

A clear head and a natural ability to read the road are the only secrets to success, and a victory at Rallye Monte-Carlo carries great weight and respect.

MALCOLM WILSON THE TEAM PRINCIPAL
A tremendous amount of time and effort has gone into the creation of the Ford Fiesta WRC, and Malcolm Wilson was quick to recognise the dedication of his team.

Team Principal, Malcolm Wilson OBE, said:
"It's just around the corner ? the dawn of a new era and a chance to see if all the hard work has paid off. The dedication that our team has put into this car is beyond measure. I have to say that it is a very proud moment for me, and that pride is focused on every single member of the team who have worked day and night to ensure we reached this point.

"We feel that we have produced another fantastic car, but no one really knows what will happen until all the teams meet for the first time in competition. You can feel the anticipation, and rightly so. This is going to be a spectacular year of rallying, and we find ourselves with the strongest driver line-up that we have had in years.

"You always want more time, but in our case that is especially true. Sebastien is a class-act, but with so little seat time in the Fiesta we have to admit that he will be starting at a disadvantage. That said, if anyone can succeed when the odds are stacked against them, it's Sebastien Ogier.

"Then we have Ott Tanak ? a man who I have rarely seen so determined and excited about the start of a new season. There's no doubting it, Ott is ready for 2017, and I firmly believe that we will see some special performances from him this year.

"It's also great to see Elfyn Evans back behind the wheel of a world rally car as our third nominated driver, and to see eric Camilli focused on continuing his progression with the Ford Fiesta R5.

"Rallye Monte-Carlo will be very special indeed, and we're ready to face the challenges head-on. It won't be easy, but believe me when I say that this small but passionate team is more determined than ever ? with the number one on the side of the Ford Fiesta WRC."

OGIER AND INGRASSIA THE FOUR-TIME WORLD CHAMPIONS
Having secured three back-to-back victories at Rallye Monte-Carlo, respect is something that four-time World Champions Sebastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia have in abundance.

This year however, the Frenchmen will be starting at something of a disadvantage. With limited seat time in the Ford Fiesta WRC, the pairing will have no choice but to learn on the job.

But despite not being a firm favourite for victory this weekend, the World Champion should never be discounted when it comes to securing a strong result in the most difficult of circumstances.

Previous starts: 5
Best result: 1st (2016, 2015 and 2014)

Sebastien Ogier said:

"It's a new season in every sense of the word ? a new era, a new car and a new team. We all know that experience is an important factor in rallying and it would have been nice to have had more time with the team, but we have learnt a lot over the past month.

"Over the years, I have learnt to be pragmatic in my approach and to focus on the job in hand. That is exactly what we plan to do next week. We've not had a lot of preparation, but we go to this first event determined to do our best.

"We had two days of testing in typical Monte conditions last week and we all know the secret to doing well at this event ? it's all about making the right tyre choice, anticipating the conditions and judging the grip levels. If we can do all of that whilst continuing to grow as a team then I think we could be in a good position.

"I've had a lot of success at Rallye Monte-Carlo, but I never fail to feel humbled in the face of such a historic and challenging event. It is an event like no other, and if you do well there then you know that you have delivered your best."

TANAK AND JARVEOJA A DETERMINED NEW PARTNERSHIP
Teaming up alongside new co-driver Martin Jarveoja, Ott Tanak is more determined than ever. Having completed the bulk of the pre-season testing, the Estonian is ready for the challenges ahead and keen to take the next step in his career.

Rallye Monte-Carlo may not have been overly kind to Tanak in the past, but he'll be looking to right those wrongs with a personal best at this notoriously difficult event this weekend.

Speed is not an issue for Tanak. Running as high as second overall in 2015 he knows what the mountain roads demand. With more experience under his belt, Tanak is ready to face the challenges head-on ? putting the whole package together in search of a strong result.

Previous starts: 3
Best result: 7th (2016)

Ott Tanak said:
"I can't wait to start this season. There are a lot of new things happening and it's a whole new challenge ? I'm sure that it's going to be interesting.

"So much hard work has gone on behind the scenes to get to this point. The work that the whole team has put into this car is incredible and there's a real sense of excitement. It's all new, and no one will really know where they stand until we get out there on the stages.

"The feeling is good, but we start with what is one of the most difficult rallies on the calendar ? Rallye Monte-Carlo. It's such a challenging event but actually the trick to doing well there is quite simple.

"Firstly, you need the experience from previously years. Secondly, you need to be consistent over all of the conditions. You need to avoid mistakes, make good tyre choices, and find a good set-up. If you can put that whole package together then you know you are going to have a strong event.

"The aim for this season is to be consistently strong. We've got quite a lot of experience now and we want to be scoring strong results, regularly. I'm so excited to chase my goals for this season, and there is not long to wait now!"

ELSEWHERE IN THE M-SPORT TEAM
Elsewhere in the team, eric Camilli and Benjamin Veillas continue their development behind the wheel of a Ford Fiesta R5 in the championship's principal support series ? WRC 2.

The Frenchman will use this season to gain valuable experience away from the spotlight. Hailing from Nice, Camilli has home advantage on side and will be a strong contender for the WRC 2 podium this weekend.

Eric Camilli said:
"This is an important challenge for me and I am looking forward to it. The target will be to continue our learning because experience is particularly important when you find yourself in a championship where the level is so high.

"The competition will be really tough this weekend, but it also provides an opportunity for us to show our speed and potential as we go head-to-head with the likes of Andreas Mikkelsen and Bryan Bouffier. We are ready to give our best."

ELSEWHERE IN THE SERVICE PARK
Elsewhere in the Service Park, Elfyn Evans and Daniel Barritt have been nominated as M-Sport's third designated point-scorers.

Piloting a DMACK-clad Ford Fiesta WRC, Evans makes a welcome return to the top flight and is the quintessential dark horse for this year's Rallye Monte-Carlo.

Possessing a natural ability to read the available grip levels in tricky conditions, the Welshman could well spring a surprise or two.

Bryan Bouffier will pilot a Ford Fiesta R5 in the WRC 2 category. The Frenchmen led much of Rallye Monte-Carlo in 2014, before bringing his Ford Fiesta RS WRC home in a fine second place overall.

Other notable names to join Camilli and Bouffier behind the wheel of a Fiesta R5 in the WRC 2 category include last year's Italian Rally Champion Giandomenico Basso, and J-WRC graduate Andrea Crugnola.

New cars, new teams, new rules: new WRC era is ready for blast-off in Monte-Carlo!

Posted: January 14, 2017 4:25 PM

The build-up and fever pitch expectation is almost over as next week's Rallye Monte-Carlo (19 - 22 January) heralds the start of one of the most keenly-anticipated FIA World Rally Championship seasons in memory.

Dynamic new-look World Rally Cars will echo through the mountains of the French Alps as four of the world's biggest automotive manufacturers begin the fight for supremacy in motorsport's toughest championship for production-based cars.

The 13-round series spans four continents in an 11-month global tour, encompassing extreme temperatures that can reach a scorching 35C in Sardinia and plunge to a bone-chilling -25C in the harsh Swedish winter.

Much is new for 2017, and WRC Promoter managing director Oliver Ciesla believes the powerful and aggressive cars, developed from a blank sheet of paper to upgraded regulations, will be the stars of the show.

"Our fans are going to love the 2017 WRC! Footage from pre-season testing shows just how exciting these new cars are. A more macho appearance and increased performance will bring smiles to fans' faces, whether they are watching stage side or on television," he said.

"There's a hugely positive feeling throughout the WRC family as we head into the season. The series boasts big names from the automotive industry, and it's a compliment to the championship's development that they have chosen to showcase their cars in an environment that offers global visibility from January to November.

"What is so great is the feeling of unpredictability about 2017 because nobody knows which teams, which cars or which drivers will shine. New rules, such as the start order and revised Power Stage points, have been put in place to ensure down-to-the-wire competition and I'm sure we will see many thrilling battles," he said.

The Teams

Toyota, the world's biggest selling car manufacturer, returns to the WRC after a 17-year absence. The Japanese giant is joined by multiple champion Citroen, which is back after a year's sabbatical. Ford, in the guise of the British M-Sport team, and Hyundai, runners-up in both the drivers' and manufacturers' series in 2016, complete a stellar line-up.

The Cars

Aggressive, loud and moody - they are the new lightweight World Rally Cars that will battle for tenths of a second on dirt, asphalt, snow and ice.

They are bigger everywhere with larger bumpers at the front and rear and extended door sills which increase the width and provide increased safety. Larger aero devices, and more of them, including a huge spoiler and diffuser at the rear and a front splitter add to the 'bulldog' look.

Beneath the bonnet a wider restrictor on the turbocharger increases power from the 1600cc direct injection engine to 380PS. Electronic trickery in the form of an active central differential gives drivers a helping hand in balancing their cars.

The Drivers

The biggest news of the short end-of-year break was the decision of four-time world champion Sebastien Ogier to sign for M-Sport, for whom he will carry #1 on the doors of his Fiesta WRC. The Frenchman is joined by rising star Ott Tanak and Elfyn Evans.

Toyota has opted for an all-Finnish line-up of Jari-Matti Latvala, Juho Hanninen and Esapekka Lappi, while Citroen has chosen the youth of Craig Breen and Stephane Lefebvre to join lead driver Kris Meeke.

There are no changes at Hyundai which has kept faith with its strong 2016 squad of Thierry Neuville, Hayden Paddon and Dani Sordo.

The Rallies

The championship comprises the same 13 demanding rounds as in 2016, but the order has been given a reshuffle. Corsica moves forward from September to April to provide a better balance of gravel and asphalt rounds. Monte-Carlo opens the season and Australia provides the finale.

Two rallies have changed their structure. Rally Sweden will operate around a central location at Torsby, while ADAC Rallye Deutschland has a new base at Bostalsee in northern Saarland.

Television

The 2017 WRC will generate more TV content than ever. Over 12,000 hours were broadcast globally in 2016 to a cumulative audience of over 700 million people and this season offers even more for fans.

The Sunday lunchtime rally-ending Power Stage programme, now established as a firm fixture across all rounds, will increase from 60 to 90 minutes. It will feature more interviews, extended coverage of the podium ceremony and reaction to the final result from the service park.

Also new for this year is another regular live stage on Saturday afternoons.

Long-term broadcast partners across the globe have renewed rights deals, eager to relay the news and action from one of the most unpredictable seasons for years. A blend of free and pay TV offers exposure to fans in more than 150 countries.

Digital

An updated version of official championship website wrc.com has been launched this week. It offers quicker access to major news stories and video content from the landing page, as well as an easier menu bar from which to locate other key sections.

There is also one-click entry to the popular WRC+ interactive digital service (www.wrcplus.com), which this year offers extended broadcasts from live stages, on-demand highlights programmes, live maps, exclusive onboard videos and much more.

A Japanese language version of wrc.com has been launched by broadcaster J SPORTS. The site will deliver the latest news during a rally, as well as key information including the itinerary, stage times and overall results.

Fans in Japan will be automatically redirected to their own language version when they open www.wrc.com. Outside Japan, it is available at www.jsports.co.jp/motor/wrc/.

eSports WRC Championship

After an inaugural season which ended in a thrilling finale in Britain, the eSports WRC Championship returns for a second year.

Thousands of players chased the title throughout 2016 on the official video game of the FIA World Rally Championship, as the competition ran in parallel to the real-life WRC calendar.

Entries are open for the 2017 eSports WRC Championship, based on the WRC 6 game. Players will accumulate points over the 13 rounds and the best eight will face off in a live final, hoping to succeed 2016 champion aTTaX Johnson. The first round takes place during Rallye Monte-Carlo.

CITROEN BEGINS A NEW CHAPTER IN ITS SPORTING HISTORY WITH THE C3 WRC

Posted: January 14, 2017 4:22 PM

The moment that WRC fans have been desperately waiting for is finally upon us: in a few days, the 2017 World Rally Championship will get underway on the stages of the legendary Rallye Monte-Carlo. The Citroen C3 WRC - designed to meet the new FIA regulations - will be making its competitive debut. Driven by Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle and Stephane Lefebvre/Gabin Moreau, two cars have been entered for this, the opening round of the season.

RALLYE MONTE-CARLO: SIMPLY ICONIC!

Quite apart from the prestige invoked by its name, Rallye Monte-Carlo owes much of its reputation to the unpredictability of the racing conditions. In January, the roads in the hills of the south-west of France can be snow-covered, icy, wet or... just dry! The most "amusing" part is that a single stage can feature all of these conditions. Tyre choice is therefore of critical importance here. It's all about estimating, for an entire loop of stages, what represents the best compromise. Gaps can open up and disappear very quickly, making the race even more exciting...

On this, the 85th running of the event, the oldest rally in the world will be spread over four days of racing. On Thursday, 19 January, the rally will get underway in the evening, with the ceremonial start in Monaco. The crews will then head towards Gap, where they will tackle two evening stages, one of which is new this year. After a short night's rest, day two promises to be incredibly intense, with two loops of three stages contested in the Is?re and Hautes-Alpes departments. On Saturday, the competitors return to Monaco, completing five stages on the way. The final leg, contested with no service, will see the crews tackle the famous Col de Turini. The rally is scheduled to finish in the Principality on Sunday, 22 January, in the early afternoon.

THE CHALLENGES: THE START OF A NEW ERA FOR THE WRC

The start of a new season is invariably the source of great interest for rally fans. But this year, the excitement has been ramped up with the introduction of new cars, more powerful and spectacular than their predecessors. In addition to the new regulations and cars, this year's driver transfer market has been particularly eventful and intriguing, so much so that we enter the 2017 season with a large number of unknowns and variables.

What is the relative performance level of the cars? Will they have the necessary reliability? Which crews will adapt the best to their new cars? Many questions that we may be able, at least in part, to answer at the end of the Monte-Carlo.

On its return as a works team in the WRC, the Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT has generated a lot of interest. But no one is getting carried away in the ranks of the Red Army. Everyone is eager to see the first times, with a mix of excitement and anxiety, to find out if the results of hard work done in the last two years or so meet the ambitions of the Brand.

At four of the year's first five races, Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT will only be entering two C3 WRCs. This time, Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle and Stephane Lefebvre/Gabin Moreau have been tasked with scoring points for the Manufacturers' World Championship. Meanwhile, Craig Breen/Scott Martin will be competing in a car from the previous generation. They will therefore be able to score points in the Drivers' championship.

Last year, Kris Meeke was fighting for the lead before he had to retire. Meanwhile, Stephane Lefebvre finished fifth, which remains his best result in the World Championship. This year, the team-mates will have the same ambition: eliminate the unknowns and manage the variables as they try to solve the tricky equation posed by this 2017 Rallye Monte-Carlo.

YVES MATTON, CITROeN RACING TEAM PRINCIPAL
"As is always the case at the start of new programme, we do feel that a few extra days would have been very welcome in order to spend more time developing the car. The development of the C3 WRC has been the shortest in the history of Citroen Racing and we have to stress the extraordinary investment made by our teams over the last few months. Having said that, we are eager to see where we stand. That competitive spirit is hard-wired in us. The car seems to be well-designed and consistent, but we'll just have to see how it compares with its rivals. Our crews will have two different approaches. Kris showed last year that he has the ability to win this rally. But of course, we need to differentiate between driving throughout a day on a test run and a completing a four-day rally with only two passes on the stages in recce. We'll need to be defensive at the start of the race, to see where the competition lies and then look ahead to the rest of the rally. It will be different for Stephane. Like Craig, we want to take him to a level where he can challenge for race wins. But before that, there will still be a period of learning, especially in the first half of the season. He needs to aim for points finish and ensure he makes it to the end. We only have two cars here, which means that there's no backup option or safety net."

LAURENT FREGOSI, TECHNICAL DIRECTOR
"We come to Monte-Carlo with the feeling that we have done some good testing to prepare for this rally. The drivers seem comfortable in the C3 WRC and that makes us optimistic about the raw performance levels of the car. Preparations for Monte-Carlo concentrated in two areas: test a wide variety of tyre combinations and explore the set-up options, in order to check if the usual 'recipes' work with this new car. We spent a lot of time studying the mapping of the active central differential. This new component allows us to subtly adjust the handling of the car depending on the road conditions. The aim is to provide the drivers with an 'easy' car, which is forgiving when there is a sudden change in grip. This first rally will also provide us with a good test of our car's reliability. On this surface, it's mainly the driveshaft that is given a bit of a hammering during the changes in grip."

KRIS MEEKE
"We're getting close to the point where should be ready to start a rally in the best possible conditions! After our last test sessions, I can't wait to move onto the next stage. I have the feeling that we'll be in the spotlight here, but I hope I can concentrate on my driving. It's never easy to compete at Monte-Carlo. At each service, we'll need to put our heads together to come up with the right - or the least wrong - tyre choice. People have no idea of the mountains of work done during test sessions to acquire data and then work out whether a given option is the right one. In this area, Citroen Racing has a great deal of experience that I can make use of. For this first rally, my aim is pretty simple: stay relaxed and enjoy myself in the car. They do say, and rightly so, that anything can happen at Monte-Carlo."

STEPHANE LEFEBVRE
"Gradually, I realise that the day of reckoning is getting closer. What we have been talking about for months as being in the future is now here, in the present! We have been discussing all sorts of things with the engineers, every day, talking about the slightest detail related to my car. Nothing has been left to chance and it's genuinely fascinating to be in the middle of this works team. On this, my first rally with this status, I will be aiming to finish in a good position and score as many points as possible for Citroen. I think I'm still short of time behind the wheel with the C3 WRC and I don't want to get ahead of myself. I have to get to grips with the car in racing conditions before trying to drive on the limit. I think we're all in the same boat to some extent, with a number of unknowns in all areas."

CRAIG BREEN
"I will certainly be the driver under the least pressure this weekend! I'm pleased to start my season in an old car, because I don't have a lot of experience at Monte-Carlo. This appearance will give me the chance to learn about the rally. It will also be an opportunity to note the gap between the two generations of World Rally Cars. My priority is to rack up the miles, but I will also be pleased if I manage to score a few points. They may come in handy in the final reckoning at the end of the season."

We have lift-off! - TOYOTA GAZOO Racing set for Monte magic

Posted: January 14, 2017 4:20 PM

TOYOTA GAZOO Racing has completed its testing program ahead of its long-awaited return to the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) after a break of 17 years and is ready for the legendary Rallye Monte-Carlo. The event takes place from January 19th-22nd on tricky mountain roads when conditions can vary between dry asphalt, ice and snow.

Led by Tommi Makinen - four-time World Rally champion and quadruple Rallye Monte-Carlo winner - and with a strong driver line-up consisting of Jari-Matti Latvala (#10), one of the fastest rally drivers in the world, and the vastly experienced Juho Hanninen (#11), the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team has all the ingredients in place ahead of this exciting adventure.

While Toyota has enjoyed considerable success in the World Rally Championship in the past, the Yaris WRC project represents a new chapter in the company's long and illustrious motorsport history with its continued commitment to making ever-better cars through motorsport. TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team is keeping its expectations for 2017 firmly in check as it prioritises car development and learning over outright results.

Yaris WRC(test program)

The legendary Rallye Monte-Carlo is the oldest rally in the world and runs for the 85th time in 2017. It also marks the start of a new era for the WRC with revamped technical regulations resulting in faster, wider, lighter and, above all, more spectacular cars.

At just under 380 timed kilometres, Rallye Monte-Carlo is not the longest event on the calendar, but it's probably the trickiest. Changeable weather and stage surfaces mean tyre choice and car set-up are often compromised, while the role of the ice-note crews, who provide last-minute information on stage conditions, becomes even more crucial.

Following the traditional ceremonial start in Monaco's Place du Casino at 18:11 CET on Thursday January 19th, two night stages in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence region provide an early - and stern - test ahead of Friday's second leg, which is the longest of the rally at more than 160 competitive kilometres. The rally then begins its journey south from Gap to Monaco on Saturday via five mountain stages ahead of Sunday's route, which includes two passes over the infamous Col de Turini. The prize-giving ceremony at the Palais Princier de Monaco begins at 15:00 CET.

Tommi Makinen, Team Principal
The most important thing is to go to 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 at the moment where we really are in terms of performance and it's unlikely that Monte-Carlo will give us any definite answers either, as it is such a different rally to everywhere else.

The tight schedule has been the biggest challenge. Of course all the teams have had to build new cars from scratch this year, but they can rely on experience from the past. I can pass on a little bit of my personal experience to our drivers from Monte-Carlo, but in the end it's all down to them and the car now. 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, which is always an ongoing process. As we say in Toyota, we should keep continuous improvement: we just keep on making the car ever-better!

Jari-Matti Latvala, Driver (Yaris WRC #10)
Two months ago, I would never have imagined that I would be starting Rallye Monte-Carlo with Toyota, so that's really exciting. In total I've done 12 days of testing: four days on snow, one day on gravel, and seven days on asphalt. That's a good amount of testing and we've made some useful steps in that time. The car feels very strong but in terms of performance it's difficult to say, as everyone comes with a new car. In any case this year is all about development: For Monte I would like to finish the rally well, then maybe towards the middle of the season we can start to think about podiums. Monte-Carlo is so unpredictable that it's not a good idea to set too many targets: in 2015 I didn't have a particular plan and I finished second, so in 2016 I was aiming for the podium and then I ended up making a mistake! For any driver, Monte is quite a big stress during the event, because of all the unknown factors and tyre choices, but when you cross the finish ramp in front of the Royal Palace on Sunday, it is one of the best feelings you will ever experience in the sport.

Juho Hanninen, Driver (Yaris WRC #11)
I've done Rallye Monte-Carlo four times before, but just one time with a WR car. And actually the last rally I did was Finland in 2015 so as you can imagine I really can't wait to get started now! I've had a very good feeling with the Yaris in testing but of course you never know what happens when you put numbers on the doors, and it's been quite a long time since I last competed.

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.

This is the first rally I will drive with Kaj and he is a fantastic guy to work with: I think I have spent more time with Kaj than with my family over the last few months with all the preparation we have done. In fact the whole atmosphere within the Toyota team is very nice: It's a family feeling, which is something that Tommi has taken care of. The guys have been working so hard, but they are still smiling and joking all the time. Like me, everyone is really looking forward to getting started.

Message from Team Chairman Akio Toyoda (full text)

Toyota is about to return to the WRC.

At our team's press conference at the end of last year, I explained that it was the support from our enthusiastic fans and a sense of gratitude to our capable predecessors that led me to decide to return to the WRC.

Right before that conference, we decided that Jari-Matti Latvala would be our other Yaris WRC driver.

I met Jari-Matti unexpectedly at the Rally Finland in 2014 and had a chance to talk to him. At the time, he was a driver for Volkswagen.

When we spoke, he pulled out his smartphone and showed me photographs of the first rally car he had ever driven, a Corolla GT, and the Corolla WRC that he drove for his first WR Car. He also talked about his enthusiasm for Toyota.

I think he was talking to me not as the president of Toyota, but as a fellow car and Toyota lover.

At that time, even in my dreams I didn't imagine that Toyota would return to compete in the WRC or that Jari-Matti would join our team to drive our car.

When I heard that we had signed a contract with him, I recalled the look on his face when he was showing me those photographs and felt certain that fate had brought us together.

When he came from the test track to attend the team's press conference last December, Jari-Matti talked about building "ever-better rally cars" refering to our words.

In fact, I hear that he's continued to work during the testing process to refine and improve the car by offering advice about how to make it a more capable competitor.

He also described himself as "coming home to Toyota." In response, I'd like to welcome him back.

My own eagerness to compete in the WRC's first race, the Rallye Monte-Carlo, has only grown now that we've welcomed Jari-Matti to the team, and I can't wait for the rally to begin.

Juho Hanninen knows the Yaris WRC better than anybody else, and he's worked to refine the Yaris WRC since the earliest days of its development. Jari-Matti Latvala started his career driving Toyotas and has extensive experience driving in the WRC. Then there are their co-drivers Miikka Anttila and Kaj Lindstr?m. Those four; the drivers and co-drivers will be racing the Yaris WRC that was created by the team of Tommi Makinen.

A new journey to build ever-better cars is beginning with many fellows including Toyota's employees, the partners who are helping us achieve our vision, and all the fans who cheer us on.

We hate to lose, and we don't plan to lose. However, this isn't a rally that can be won easily.

I'm confident that the energy from such a broad base of supporters will reach the team, the car, and the drivers, and I look forward to your support for Toyota's entry in the WRC.

Akio Toyoda
President, Toyota Motor Corporation
Team Chairman, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team

Entry List

Posted: January 3, 2017 6:39 AM

Rally Guide Available / Event Website

Posted: October 12, 2016 10:42 AM

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