The Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team is preparing to target further FIA World Rally Championship success in the year 2021. Sebastien Ogier, who won his 7th drivers’ title in his 1st season with the team in 2020, has extended his career to spend one more year driving the Toyota Yaris WRC (World Rally Team). He will once again line up alongside Elfyn Evans. The 2020 championship runner-up, and exciting young talent Kalle Rovanpera.
Completing this squad of expert drivers is a new Team Principal: Jari-Matti Latvala. The most experienced driver in the history of the WRC, Mr. Latvala has been appointed to succeed Tommi Makinen, who takes up the role of Motorsport Advisor to Toyota Motors from January 2021.
Latvala has been selected by Akio Toyoda, President of Toyota Motors, to bring a driver’s perspective to a management team that also includes Yuichiro Haruna, Project Director; Kaj Lindström, Sporting Director; and Tom Fowler, Technical Director.
A winner of 18 rounds of the WRC, Latvala has been part of the story of the Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team since its debut in 2017. After joining the team he played a crucial role in the development of the Toyota Yaris WRC in weeks before its competitive debut at Rallye Monte-Carlo – where he finished second overall. He then claimed the team’s 1st victory in the following event, Rally Sweden. His win on Rally Australia at the end of 2018 helped to secure the manufacturers’ championship for Toyota Motors.
Akio Toyoda (Team Chairman, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team)
“It’s been a year since we gave Jari-Matti a send-off from the team as a driver. And now, I’m very glad that I’m delivering this message again. When thinking about our new team from the year 2021, Jari-Matti’s face 1st came to my mind. That’s because there were many situations in which I empathized with him since we met.”
“He always cares for the fans and of his team-mates. Being one of the top drivers, I often saw him running up to fans as soon as he got out of the car at the service park. He cared about everybody in the team like mechanics and engineers and always talked to them. I believe this kind of attitude and character empowered the team a lot and helped lead to the manufacturers’ title.”
“The 2021 season is just around the corner but the entire package is already there within the team, with a proven car and the same strong driver line-up, and everybody knows what needs to be done to prepare for Rallye Monte-Carlo in January.”
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