Jari-Matti Latvala deeply disappointed – “I’m not even trying to hide it”

Jari-Matti Latvala's Toyota team didn't achieve the desired success in Rally Sardinia, which concluded on Sunday.
Jari-Matti Latvala.
Jari-Matti Latvala. Photo by: Toyota GAZOO Racing WRT
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Toyota’s Sebastien Ogier was in the lead before the final special stage. However, the Frenchman suffered a puncture on the Power Stage, allowing Hyundai’s Ott Tänak to snatch victory by a narrow margin of 0.2 seconds.

The loss of the victory itself wasn’t significant, as there is no longer a separate reward for first place. Nowadays, the most points are awarded based on the standings on Saturday evening, while Sunday’s points are given for the day’s results and the additional points from the Power Stage.

Toyota couldn’t match Hyundai’s Tänak and Thierry Neuville on Sunday. As a result, Hyundai extended their lead over Toyota in the manufacturers’ championship by nine points.

“It’s a big disappointment, there’s no getting around it. I’m not even trying to hide it. It will certainly take some time to digest this,” Toyota team principal Latvala lamented.

“If we look at the overall picture, Ogier’s loss didn’t determine anything in terms of points. It didn’t matter whether he was first or second. However, we did lose points on the Power Stage when he lost a tyre off the rim. That’s the most unfortunate part.”

Check the full WRC standings here.

Hyundai has now managed to get the upper hand over Toyota on the final day of the event in two consecutive rallies. The previous event in Portugal followed exactly the same pattern: Neuville and Tänak dominated and brought a huge haul of points for their team.

“Hyundai has been strong, and that brings us more pressure going forward. We need to be able to respond to that. We have to be better in Poland,” Latvala referred to the next round.

After the technical rallies in Portugal and Sardinia, the WRC moves into a series of fast gravel rallies. Over the summer, the championship points will be contested in Poland, Latvia, and Finland.

Latvala is confident that the upcoming rallies will offer more success for Toyota.

“Sardinia has never been our best event. Over the past five years, this has always been Hyundai’s rally. However, this weekend showed that our car has the capacity to perform in such events.”

“Fast rallies have always suited both our drivers and our car better. However, we must remember that Tänak has also been strong in fast rallies. We have to bring our best game if we intend to succeed. And that’s what we must do, we can’t give up,” Latvala emphasised.

The next event, Rally Poland, is scheduled for the end of June.

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