Toyota bags first World Rally Championship victory since 1999

Article by Christian A., on February 14, 2017

Yes, Toyota hasn’t joined the WRC since the first generation of iPod was released. For the first time in many years, Toyota comes back and has won its first race in this year’s World Rally Championship. Jari-Matti Latvala of Finland took the lead in the driver’s championship at the Rally Sweden against Ott Tanak and Sebastien Ogier on weekend.

Latvala takes the lead in the championship score boards after finishing with the fastest time on 6 stages. Driving behind the wheels of his Toyota Yaris, Latvala only had a 3.8 second advantage over Tanak who was behind the wheels of the Ford Fiesta WRC. Ogier also went with his new Fiesta and had placed third in the final ranking.

Shortly after the race, an obviously thrilled Latvala was left with no words to express his excitement. Nevertheless, he thanked the whole team and said that he’s looking forward to going to Mexico. At the same time, the WRC driver also felt sorry for Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville and said that he had been in the same situation before.

Thierry Neuville hit a post and made contact with a concrete barrier while rallying in Sweden. The unfortunate event had caused his suspension to break on Saturday. Without Neuville, the remaining stages became highly intense for Ogier, Tanak and Latvala.

Similarly, both Tanak and Ogier had their share of dooms. Ogier fell out of the competition after he spun at first corner during the first stage on Sunday. Tanak on the other hand had “loose rear end” troubles with his Ford Fiesta. Juho Hanninen, Latvala’s teammate had also met his double jeopardy during the rally. Hanninen accidentally hit a tree on Friday and a bridge on Sunday.

Since Volkswagen’s sudden departure from the WRC the previous year, both Ogier and Latvala were left without any racing team. It is a blessing in disguise that Ogier and Latvala are now racing for M-Sport and Toyota. Apparently, the two have ended up in the first and second places in the championship. Even so, Andreas Mikkelsen is still left with nothing after he had won Volkswagen’s last and final WRC race. Mikkelsen’s career may be temporarily on hold but we’re hoping to see him make a proper comeback in 2018.

As for Toyota, it is their first win in the FIA WRC race since it last joined the competition in 1999. Surprisingly, it only took them two events with a driver known to be part of the Volkswagen team to get right back on the tracks. Our heartfelt congratulations go out to Toyota and Jari-Matti Latvala for quite an epic comeback.

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