Toyota Gazoo Racing confident heading into the Welsh forests
"I think all of our drivers enjoy that challenge"
The TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team moves on to Rally GB (October 3-6) confident of a strong result on the tricky Welsh stages. With three rounds remaining in the 2019 season, Ott Tänak takes the lead of drivers’ standings to a rally on which he has performed strongly in the past. Jari-Matti Latvala is making his 18th start on an event he’s won twice before, while the team’s British crew of Kris Meeke and Seb Marshall can look forward to the support of the home crowds.
A classic event of the WRC, Rally GB takes place predominantly on gravel roads in the forests of Wales, which are relatively fast when dry. Autumn can however mean a high likelihood of rain and even fog, and stages that are muddy and slippery with frequent changes of grip levels.
The rally has a new home this year in the north Welsh coastal town of Llandudno. There is also a new start location in the city of Liverpool on Thursday and subsequent first stage at the Oulton Park racing circuit, which last welcomed the rally in 1993. There are nine stages in total on Friday, the last of which will be run in darkness. Saturday’s action is mostly in mid-Wales with a trio of forest stages each run twice with just a tyre fitting zone in-between, before a new asphalt stage along Colwyn Bay seafront in the evening. There’s another asphalt test on the final day along the Great Orme coastal road, separating two passes of the Alwen and Brenig stages.
Tommi Mäkinen (Team Principal)
“The last rally in Turkey was a tough one for us but we are going into the final three events of the season confident that we can perform strongly on all of them. In our first year, Rally GB was not so good for us, but we learned a lot from that, we made some changes, and last year we were really strong there. The roads are fast and smooth and that suits us well. The slippery conditions can always make things difficult, but I think all of our drivers enjoy that challenge and have a good feeling before the event.”
“Rally GB is always something special. It’s a rally I like, as the roads are fast and they have a nice flow, but the conditions make it difficult, especially because the grip levels are constantly changing at every corner. You need confidence in your car on every rally, but it’s in these kind of conditions where it can really help to make a big difference. The gap in the championship is closer now, but we have three rallies to go and we know that we were fast on each of them last year. Now we just have to finish the job, starting in Wales.”
“Rally GB is special for me and I’ve always enjoyed it. The main challenge, of course, is always the weather: Over the years I’ve been competing there I’ve seen snow, ice, horrendous wind, and rain from nearly every angle! If it’s raining while you’re in the stage, it can actually wash away the mud and give you better grip, but when it’s drying out it can be very greasy and slippery. I’m looking forward to it and to picking up where I left off in Finland and Germany when I had a good rhythm with the driving. Hopefully we can achieve another good result to help the team in the championship.”
“This is as close as it gets to a home rally for me: My first ever rally was in some of the same Welsh forests that I’m now fortunate enough to drive a World Rally Car through. For me, the mud and rain you get there is a big part of why I love rallying. In early October the weather can certainly still be wet, but it’s usually less extreme than when the rally used to be held in November. We know that the Yaris WRC can work quite well in these sort of conditions, even if it gets really slippery. So I’m optimistic that we will go there with a quick car and can be confident of a top result.”
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