The TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team has claimed a historic lock-out of the podium places on Rallye Deutschland. Ott Tänak claimed victory to increase his lead in the drivers’ championship to 33 points, with team-mates Kris Meeke and Jari-Matti Latvala joining him on the podium. The result – the first time in four years that a single manufacturer has filled the overall podium on a WRC round – brings the team to within eight points of the lead in the manufacturers’ championship.
Tänak led the rally almost from start to finish as he and co-driver Martin Järveoja notched up their third win in as many years on the demanding German asphalt event. After an intense battle they built a gap on the fearsome Panzerplatte stages on Saturday afternoon, when Meeke and Latvala moved up into the podium positions.
On the final day the three crews protected their positions, with Tänak ultimately winning by 20.8 seconds as he clinched his fifth triumph of the year. For Meeke and co-driver Seb Marshall, second place represents their first podium finishes for Toyota, while third for Latvala and Miikka Anttila was a strong repeat of their result on the previous round in Finland. Together, it was a perfect result on the home event of Toyota Motorsport GmbH, based nearby in Cologne and responsible for developing the engine of the Toyota Yaris WRC.
TOYOTA GAZOO Racing Rally Challenge Program driver Takamoto Katsuta reached the end of his first event at the highest level of the WRC in a fine 10th place, driving a separately-entered Toyota Yaris WRC.
Akio Toyoda (Team Chairman)
“All six TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WRT drivers and co-drivers stood on the podium at Rally Germany. It was a great sight! I would have loved to be standing next to you while being soaked in champagne on the podium. But today I feel great! And Takamoto Katsuta finished his first WRC event with the Yaris. This was also something I wanted to see. The scene I truly want to see is him standing on the podium. But today I feel great! Thank you very much to the drivers, co-drivers, Tommi, the team members, and all of the fans who are pleased with this result. Ott and Martin, thank you very much for your two consecutive wins, and your wins in Germany, the home of the Yaris WRC engine. Kris and Jari-Matti were continually saying in interviews, ‘I will drive for the team! I’ll drive through and get the points for the manufacturers’ championship!’ It’s normal for a driver to want to drive faster than anyone else. I really thank them for controlling that feeling and driving for the team. It’s a really good team. Let’s keep fighting for the remaining four events this season with this team! And let’s do our best to keep delivering the best sights for the fans! To all the fans, I wish for your continuous support for TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WRT.”
Tommi Mäkinen (Team Principal)
“It feels incredible to have our three cars in the first three positions. We had the possibility to achieve a similar situation a few times already and now finally we managed it. It’s a very exciting day today. Our car was clearly very strong here but this weekend we also had the strongest drivers, who showed how to do it in the most challenging asphalt conditions we have. Our test mileage is very limited on asphalt and still we are able to do this sort of result. That says a lot about our teamwork and how well everybody has been working together. I have to be very proud of everybody today.”
Ott Tänak (Driver car 8)
“It’s an amazing result for the team, so I’m sure there will be big celebrations tonight, and also when we go to visit the team at TMG here in Germany tomorrow. We still have four more rounds to go and we need to stay focused and give our maximum. The championship is still tight, and we’ve seen this weekend that nothing is coming easy. We were not always the fastest but we were more consistent, and in the end we managed to get the victory. The main job was done yesterday and today we just had to bring home the 1-2-3.”
Jari-Matti Latvala (Driver car 10)
“If you finish 1-2-3, you cannot ask for more. This is the most perfect of perfect results. We had a really nice weekend without any problems, and the car worked perfectly. And even though there were some stages that did not go so well for me, I was able to bounce back on the next one. I was slightly too cautious on the first stage this morning, but I realised that I needed to give a bit more attack and after that it was fine. After Finland, it’s a great feeling to be on the podium again.”
Kris Meeke (Driver car 5)
“I’m delighted. I could have had four or five, maybe six podiums already this year, and through different issues and my own mistakes, we never got there. To be on the podium and to bring a big haul of points to Toyota with a perfect score, a 1-2-3, it’s special to be part of this weekend. To take maximum points for the manufacturers’ championship is really important. I felt good in the Yaris all weekend, it gave me great confidence, and I definitely was able to drive at a good speed and be comfortable.”
FINAL CLASSIFICATION, RALLYE DEUTSCHLAND
1 Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja (Toyota Yaris WRC) 3h15m29.8s
2 Kris Meeke/Seb Marshall (Toyota Yaris WRC) +20.8s
3 Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (Toyota Yaris WRC) +36.0s
4 Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +58.5s
5 Dani Sordo/Carlos del Barrio (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +1m16.6s
6 Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders Jaeger-Amland (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +1m46.2s
7 Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (Citroën C3 WRC) +1m56.3s
8 Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm (Citroën C3 WRC) +2m02.2s
9 Gus Greensmith/Elliott Edmondson (Ford Fiesta WRC) +6m22.2s
10 Takamoto Katsuta/Daniel Barritt (Toyota Yaris WRC) +8m19.2s
Rally Turkey (September 12-15) returned to the WRC in 2018 in a new location around Marmaris on the Mediterranean coast. Rocky gravel roads and high temperatures make for a gruelling event.
Press release Toyota Gazoo Racing, picture Ludovic Carnal/Sport-Auto.ch