The TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team showed a strong level of performance when conditions allowed during the second full day of Rally Sweden. In the morning loop, Ott Tänak won the first two stages and came a close second on the third. Although he later lost time in an incident with another car, he went on to score a fifth stage win of the event in the evening.
Jari-Matti Latvala and Esapekka Lappi ensured all three Toyota Yaris WRCs were in the top four on the opening Torntop test, and then completed a sweep of the top three places on the following Hagfors stage, emphasising the potential of the car. In the afternoon however, as had been the case yesterday, the team’s efforts were compromised by its position near the front of the running order. With stage conditions constantly improving with each passing car, the fastest times were set by those further down the running order.
Lappi ended the day sixth, only nine seconds away from fifth, and 57.5 seconds ahead of Latvala. Tänak had closed to within half a second of Latvala before SS13, but then lost a minute-and-a-half after an incident while trying to pass a slower car. This dropped him back to ninth, but he did go on to win the super special stage in Karlstad, just as he had done when the rally began on Thursday night.
Tommi Mäkinen (Team Principal)
“Today, again, we weren’t able to show our true performance level all throughout the day because of the conditions. The morning was good but we were pretty sure that the conditions would change for the afternoon because of the historic cars running in between the two passes. It was very easy to see from the times this afternoon that this did indeed happen. Our guys have all been driving well though. Esapekka has done consistently good times and is still fighting to improve his position. We may also have the chance to get some good points on the Power Stage if the conditions are right.”
Jari-Matti Latvala (Driver car 7)
“This morning was going well: I felt good and was enjoying the driving. This afternoon however the car was not behaving well at all. The front differential was not working correctly and I was losing a lot of time, but we are changing the transmission in service so this should be sorted out for tomorrow. Then I’m sure the confidence will come, and if I am feeling good on the start line before the Power Stage then there’s a chance we can score some points there.”
Ott Tänak (Driver car 8)
“Overall the pace was quite good today and it was quite a lot more enjoyable. This morning the grip was much more consistent: more like a rally should be. The car was working perfectly in these conditions and it felt good to drive. This afternoon it was as tricky as I expected: it was more or less the same as yesterday, but we had a few more cars ahead of us so a few more lines to follow. We will try to do our best tomorrow and see what is possible on the Power Stage.”
Esapekka Lappi (Driver car 9)
“It’s been a good day. We continued the same pace as yesterday, managing to do top five times on almost every stage, which is quite good, and it has been pretty consistent. We made some small changes in service which made the car better for the rutted roads. I don’t think I could have done better times because the road was getting cleaner car-by-car. We have a good fight going on with Östberg: for sure I want to pass him tomorrow.”
End of Day three (Saturday):
1 Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) 2h23.23.8s
2 Craig Breen/Scott Martin (Citroen C3 WRC) +22.7s
3 Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders Jaeger (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +32.0s
4 Hayden Paddon/Sebastian Marshall (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +48.6s
5 Mads Östberg/Torstein Eriksen (Citroen C3 WRC) +56.8s
6 Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm (Toyota Yaris WRC) +1m05.8s
7 Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (Toyota Yaris WRC) +2m03.3s
8 Teemu Suninen/Mikko Markkulaa (Ford Fiesta WRC) +2m20.5s
9 Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja (Toyota Yaris WRC) +3m41.3s
10 Sebastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (Ford Fiesta WRC) +4m24.9s
(Results as of 21:00 on Saturday, for the latest results please visit www.wrc.com)
The final day of Rally Sweden consists of just three stages, beginning with two runs over the 21.19-kilometres Likenäs test in the morning. The crews will then return to the service park in Torsby for a regroup, before the Power Stage takes place on the nearby 9.56-kilometre Torsby test that was previously run on Friday night.
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