TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team is ready for the Tour de Corse to begin for real tomorrow after leading the way during this morning’s shakedown ahead of round four of the season.
Kris Meeke posted the fastest time on all three of his runs over the 5.39-kilometre shakedown stage, which provided the drivers with the opportunity to fine-tune their car setups and gain confidence ahead of the demanding asphalt rally.
All three Toyota Yaris WRCs were inside the top five on the shakedown. Ott Tänak was third fastest, 1.4 seconds away from Meeke’s best time, while Jari-Matti Latvala was fifth, only 2.3s off top spot.
Tommi Mäkinen (Team Principal)
“It was generally a good shakedown for us today. We didn’t have any issues, and all of the drivers seem to be happy with their cars, which is a really important thing on the type of stages that we have here in Corsica. Our testing before the event went well and today was a chance to confirm that. Kris was certainly looking quick with his times and was happy with the behaviour of the car, and I know that Ott feels that our setup for asphalt is one of the best. Tomorrow’s stages look pretty nice – quite smooth and clean, like a circuit – and we hope it will go well for us.”
Ott Tänak (Driver car 8)
“The feeling was good in shakedown, everything was working well. We had the same good feeling that we finished our pre-event test with, more or less. I believe the most important thing here is to have good confidence right from the start of the rally. We know that the car is capable on this surface and that the setup is there. Hopefully we’ve done a good recce as well, with so many new stages. The organisers always do a good job of finding some new roads and that makes it a big challenge. Now I’m really looking forward to getting underway tomorrow.”
Jari-Matti Latvala (Driver car 10)
“On my first run in shakedown it was a bit difficult to get the right feeling – I was starting with cold tyres and maybe the setup was a bit too stiff. On the second run we went softer with the car and then the feeling was actually really good. For the third run we did some modifications, I made some little mistakes, but generally it was OK. I think we are there in the main group and the differences are not so big. It will be really important to have confidence and feeling from the first stage tomorrow: if you hesitate here you can lose so much.”
Kris Meeke (Driver car 5)
“I enjoyed our runs in shakedown. To be honest, shakedown is not so important here because a short piece of road like that is a lot different to the long and challenging stages that we’re going to face on the rally. Still, we need to have a good rhythm and I felt comfortable in the car this morning. This rally is not all about commitment; with such long stages you always have to think about the tyre management and maintaining the grip not just through one stage but for a whole loop. But I’m feeling good and I’m hoping for a strong weekend.”
The first day of competitive action in Corsica tomorrow takes place in the south of the island near Porto-Vecchio, where the ceremonial start is located this evening. There are three stages each run twice, separated only by a tyre-fitting zone at lunchtime, with the first service of the rally not happening until the end of the day at Bastia Airport.
Valinco (SS2 & SS5, 25.94 kilometres)
Seb Marshall (Co-driver car 5):
“This is the longest stage on Friday and was last used in 2015. It starts in a village where it used to be really bumpy, but there’s now a brand new surface. It begins narrow, then goes onto a wide road for the next 20 kilometres, which is really fast. Towards the end there’s a very intense section with lots of completely blind corners and no straights for about a kilometre, and then it’s uphill on a wider road to the finish.”
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