The TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team will take on some of the fastest roads in the FIA World Rally Championship on Rally Poland from June 29 to July 2, when it will look to continue its strong momentum last time out in Sardinia. Now the team faces a brand-new challenge on rapid gravel stages that are very different from those of southern Europe, but with the possibility of more very hot weather.
Although it is the fourth consecutive round held on gravel, Rally Poland poses a very different challenge to the events held before it, with soft, sandy and flowing stages. The high speeds can be similar to those seen on Rally Finland, so it will provide a good opportunity for the team and three crews to develop the performance of the Yaris WRC in these demanding conditions ahead of the following round.
Rally Poland is based at the town of Mikolajki in the north-east of the country, where a super special stage hosts the opening stage on Thursday evening. It features again at the end of both Friday and Saturday’s action, when it follows two loops of four stages. The rally ends on Sunday with two stages ran twice, featuring the new 18.68-kilometre Paprotki test that serves as the event-closing Power Stage.
To prepare for next week’s rally, all three drivers took part in a test on gravel in Estonia, using similar roads to those that will be seen in Poland.
Tommi Mäkinen (Team Principal)
“Poland will be an interesting rally with a different challenge: a bit like Finland in some ways, but without the jumps and with a softer surface. It should be a good test for the aerodynamics of our car at high speed, which is an area where we have normally been working well. Poland should also be less hard on the car, after some of the rough rallies we have seen recently, but of course you can never tell for sure how it will be until you get there. I never drove in Poland myself, so I don’t really know what to expect. In terms of objectives, the drivers know what to do so I will just let them get on with it while doing everything I can to help them focus and stay concentrated.”
Jari-Matti Latvala (Driver car 10)
“We had a really good test for Poland, which featured some rain as well, and I think this will be very useful as there was also some rain on the final day in Poland last year, which often happens after you have many days of hot conditions as we expect next week. We made some steps forward with the dampers and I was particularly impressed by the stability of the car. With a lot of the car’s development having taken place on the rapid roads of Finland, I think the Yaris WRC should be well suited to the very fast roads in Poland too.”
Juho Hänninen (Driver car 11)
“I was happy with our progress in Sardinia and our preparations were able to build on that. I actually think that our car is better on the fast rallies compared to the slow rallies so this gives me a lot of confidence, as you do not have to worry so much about the set-up and you can just concentrate on the driving. On the test, I made some changes to the suspension and since then there has been even more development, so this is really positive. Road cleaning will not be as big a factor as it was in Sardinia but Friday could still be important.”
Esapekka Lappi (Driver car 12)
“The test before Poland was a good step up for me: from the slow roads of Sardinia to the really fast and flat-out roads that we experienced in testing. I would say that the test was representative, although maybe in Poland we can expect roads that are slightly softer and sandier. Although I had a good result in Sardinia I have no particular expectations for Poland. Because it’s a really fast rally you need a lot of confidence and I’m not sure if I have that yet. I just want to have a clean run and reach the finish with no problems in order to learn as much as possible.”
The statistics (Rally Poland):
|Year||Jari-Matti Latvala||Juho Hänninen||Esapekka Lappi|
* - Valid for ERC only
2017 FIA World Rally Championship for drivers after round seven:
1 Sebastien Ogier 141
2 Thierry Neuville 123
3 Ott Tanak 108
4 Jari-Matti Latvala 107
5 Dani Sordo 70
6 Elfyn Evans 53
7 Craig Breen 43
8 Hayden Paddon 33
9 Juho Hänninen 29
10 Kris Meeke 27
11 Esapekka Lappi 20
2017 FIA World Rally Championship for manufacturers after round seven:
1 M-Sport World Rally Team 234
2 Hyundai Motorsport 194
3 TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WRT 143
4 Citroen Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team 97
Team Media Hour – Rally Poland
Wednesday 28 June at the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team hospitality in the Mikolajki service park, with drivers and management present, from 18:00-18:45. All media are welcome.
Pictures will be uploaded here during the event
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