Rally Sweden is underway following the ceremonial start and a super special stage in Karlstad, where the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team took first and second place courtesy of Ott Tänak and Jari-Matti Latvala. The day began with shakedown close to the service park in Torsby, where the drivers and engineers were able to refine the setup of the Toyota Yaris WRC ahead of the only full winter round of the FIA World Rally Championship.
The super special took place over a 1.9-kilometre course on the trotting track in Karlstad, with drivers going head-to-head against each other in twos, cheered on by large crowds. Tänak posted the fastest time, three tenths of a second in front of Latvala. Esapekka Lappi was eighth, but only 2.2s off the pace.
Tom Fowler (Technical Director)
“It is nice to start with the two quickest times but we know that the real Rally Sweden begins tomorrow. The shakedown stage this morning was much more representative of the rally as a whole: it had some slower sections as well as some high speed. This meant it was worth making some setup changes on the cars, just to confirm a few things after our pre-event testing. All the cars were running at different times so we couldn’t read too much into the final order. We are satisfied that the performance is there. We have made improvements to the car since our win here last year, but we know that all the other teams will have done the same.”
Jari-Matti Latvala (Driver car 7)
“It is good to be among the quickest drivers on the first stage of the rally and I hope we can continue like this. The shakedown stage this morning was very representative of what is to come over the rest of the weekend. We were able to make some changes so that I can get the right feeling with the car. I love driving on snow and the conditions are great this year. I will of course try to fight for my fifth victory here but there are many other drivers who can win too: if you want to win this event you will need a perfect rally.”
Ott Tänak (Driver car 8)
“The Karlstad stage is always an enjoyable way to start this rally: there were a lot of fans and the stage itself was quite good fun. Shakedown this morning was good too. We need to see what the forecast is like for the rest of the rally, so we don’t yet know exactly what the best setup will be, but I think we have a good feeling in the car. We believe we can have another good result here after the great start we had in Monte Carlo. I’m looking forward to the proper Rally Sweden stages tomorrow.”
Esapekka Lappi (Driver car 9)
“The first stage went fine for us with no issues. Shakedown was pretty good. To begin with I had some understeer, but we made some changes in service and tried some different things, and I believe it should be good for the first proper stages tomorrow. I think I will enjoy this rally a lot. Big snow banks, frozen roads and the sun shining: this is the best feeling you can get with a rally car.”
End of Day one(Thursday):
1 Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja (Toyota Yaris WRC) 1m32.7s
2 Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (Toyota Yaris WRC) +0.3s
3 Mads Ostberg/Torstein Eriksen (Citroen C3 WRC) +0.6s
4 Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle (Citroen C3 WRC) +0.9s
5 Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders Jaeger (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +0.9s
6 Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +1.0s
7 Hayden Paddon/Sebastian Marshall (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +2.1s
8 Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm (Toyota Yaris WRC) +2.2s
9 Sebastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (Ford Fiesta WRC) +2.5s
10 Craig Breen/Scott Martin (Citroen C3 WRC) +2.9s
(Results as of 21:00 on Thursday, for the latest results please visit www.wrc.com)
The first full day of the rally features seven stages, with much of the action taking place in Norway. The Hof Finnskog and Svullrya tests are run fully in Norway, while Röjden twice crosses the border, beginning and ending in Sweden. These three stages are run twice, either side of late morning service in Torsby. A stage next to the service park rounds out the day: this will also be used as the end-of-rally Power Stage.
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