Toyota’s top boss sends a message to Ott Tänak

Toyota’s event on the rough gravel of Rally Sardinia turned out to be a major disappointment.
Akio Toyoda
Akio Toyoda is a passionate rally man. Photo by: Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT
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Sebastien Ogier lost the victory on the final special stage due to a tyre off the rim, allowing Hyundai’s Ott Tänak to take the win by a narrow margin of 0.2 seconds. In terms of manufacturers’ points, the loss of the win did not matter, but it was certainly a blow to the entire team.

An even bigger disappointment was the overall lacklustre pace of Toyota’s drivers on Sunday. Tänak and Thierry Neuville outperformed the entire Toyota trio, securing maximum points on Super Sunday. Toyota’s team principal Akio Toyoda encouraged his team, despite another lost victory in Sardinia.

“The surface in Sardinia is very demanding, and it always gives challenges to our team and cars. TGR has won Sardinia only once so far when Seb got the victory in 2021. Seb and Vincent (co-driver Landais) were doing really well on this harsh and demanding event, but they missed out at the very last moment on the Power Stage,” Toyoda writes.

“The gap of 0.2 seconds is so small and disappointing, but this is sport. Our team all hate to lose. We will turn this frustration into strength and aim for the next victory.”

Finally, Toyoda sent a message to Tänak, a familiar figure to the top man of the car manufacturer. Tänak won the world championship with Toyota five years ago. That season also included a significant disappointment in Sardinia.

“I was on-site in Rally Sardinia 2019 and following your performance. You made up for the disappointment of that Power Stage this time. Congratulations,” Toyoda says.

In 2019, Tänak lost the victory in Rally Sardinia on the same Sassari-Argentiera special stage. Tänak entered the Power Stage with nearly a half-minute lead but dropped to fifth due to a technical fault. At that time, Hyundai’s Dani Sordo eventually celebrated the victory.

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