Enough is enough! Jari-Matti Latvala speaks out

Toyota’s WRC team faced a major disappointment at Rally Sardinia on Sunday.
Jari-Matti Latvala.
Jari-Matti Latvala. Photo by: Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT
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Tyre damage dropped Ogier from first place to second, 0.2 seconds behind Hyundai’s Ott Tänak. However, Toyota’s team principal Jari-Matti Latvala noted that losing the win was primarily an image loss due to the WRC’s new points system.

Ogier had already secured the points for Toyota on Saturday. On Sunday, Hyundai claimed the points with a crushing lead as Tänak and Thierry Neuville scored maximum points.

“The trend has been that we have been able to win rallies and fight for victories. The differences have come from the Sunday stages,” Latvala told RallyJournal.com

“Hyundai or their drivers have been able to push more on Sundays. That’s where the difference in the manufacturers’ championship has come from.”

Although Hyundai’s lead in the manufacturers’ championship is only 13 points, Latvala emphasises that the focus needs to change. While the upcoming fast gravel rallies should favour Toyota, securing wins alone will no longer suffice.

“Something needs to be done. Performance needs to be increased if we aim to compete for the championship. Of course, the next rallies are fast events – Poland, Latvia, and Finland – which should suit our drivers and our car better,” Latvala said.

“Of course, Sundays need to be sharpened. Maybe we need to raise the risk threshold. Considering the overall rally win doesn’t matter as much in this system as being able to push on Sunday and take maximum points.”

Neuville scored the full 12 points on Sunday in Sardinia, despite retiring on Saturday. Tänak, on the other hand, scored ten points on Sunday. These additional points are extremely important for both the manufacturers’ and drivers’ championships.

“Tänak was in second place after Saturday but managed to push on Sunday. That helps him immensely in the driver’s standings,” Latvala pointed out.

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