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Toyota signs Latvala for WRC comeback

Ex-VW driver Jari Matti-Latvala pens a deal to join the returning Toyota for the 2017 World Rally Championship.
Jari-Matti Latvala will compete with the returning Toyota Gazoo Racing team for the 2017 World Rally Championship, it has been announced.

The second signing for Toyota ahead of its comeback season, Latvala switches to the manufacturer following Volkswagen's sudden exit from the WRC after four years.

Latvala joins the already-confirmed Juho Hanninen in campaigning a Yaris WRC, with Toyota – returning to the WRC after an absence of 16 years – set to enter a third car for WRC2 front runner Esapekka Lappi.

The plans come as Latvala's former team-mates Sebastien Ogier and Andreas Mikkelsen agonise over their 2017 options following VW's late decision to quit having largely dominated for the four seasons of its presence in the series.

With Hyundai having signed its three drivers and Citroen – returning to WRC in a manufacturer capacity with the new C3 after a year out – expecting to focus on its four car line-up, Ogier and Mikkelsen's options are being reduced to M-Sport Ford and a potential privateer VW entry.

Despite its withdrawal, VW has homologated its new specification Polo R WRC, with a potential Middle East-funded effort coming forward as a potential option for both drivers.

Talking to Autocar, VW Motorsport Director Wolfgang Durheimer says it will make its expertise available to any prospective outfit to ensure any Polo is competitive.

"Whatever they want, our expertise will be available to hire. I hope the deal will be done to have a team in Monte Carlo in January, and competing in the entire championship.

“If that happens, it will be a wonderful story - the team will be considered the underdogs and will be welcomed by fans. If they do it right, it could be an incredible story."



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN) Volkswagen Polo R WRC
12.02.2017 - 1st place Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN)-Miikka Anttila (FIN) Toyota Yaris WRC, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT, 2nd place Ott Tanak (EAU)-Martin Jarveoja (EST),Ford Fiesta WRC, M‐Sport World Rally Team and 3rd place Sébastien Ogier (FRA)-Julien Ingrassia (FRA) Ford Fiesta WRC, M‐Sport World Rally Team
12.02.2017 - 1st place Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN)-Miikka Anttila (FIN) Toyota Yaris WRC, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT, 2nd place Ott Tanak (EAU)-Martin Jarveoja (EST),Ford Fiesta WRC, M‐Sport World Rally Team and 3rd place Sébastien Ogier (FRA)-Julien Ingrassia (FRA) Ford Fiesta WRC, M‐Sport World Rally Team
12.02.2017 - Jukka KETOMÄKI (FIN) - Jarkko ALANEN (FIN) Skoda Fabia R5
12.02.2017 - Gus GREENSMITH (GBR) - Craig PARRY (GBR) Ford Fiesta R5
12.02.2017 - Gus GREENSMITH (GBR) - Craig PARRY (GBR) Ford Fiesta R5
12.02.2017 - Hiroki ARAI (JPN) - Glenn MACNEALL (AUS) Ford Fiesta R5, Tommi Mäkinen Racing
12.02.2017 - Alexey LUKYANUK (RUS) - Alexey ARNAUTOV (RUS) Ford Fiesta R5
12.02.2017 - Eric Camilli (FRA)-Benjamin Veillas (FRA) Ford Fiesta, M‐Sport World Rally Team
12.02.2017 - Eric Camilli (FRA)-Benjamin Veillas (FRA) Ford Fiesta, M‐Sport World Rally Team
12.02.2017 - Eric Camilli (FRA)-Benjamin Veillas (FRA) Ford Fiesta, M‐Sport World Rally Team
12.02.2017 - Emil BERGKVIST (SWE) - Joakim SJÖBERG (SWE) Citroën DS3 R5
12.02.2017 - Emil BERGKVIST (SWE)  Citroën DS3 R5
12.02.2017 - Jarosław KOLTUN (POL) - Ireneusz PLESKOT (POL) Ford Fiesta R5, C‐Rally
12.02.2017 - Eyvind BRYNILDSEN (NOR) - Anders FREDRIKSSON (SWE) Ford Fiesta R5 Adapta Motorsport AS
12.02.2017 - Ole Christian VEIBY (NOR) Skoda Fabia R5, Printsport
12.02.2017 - Ole Christian VEIBY (NOR) - Stig Rune SKJÆRMOEN (NOR) Skoda Fabia R5, Printsport
12.02.2017 - Ole Christian VEIBY (NOR) - Stig Rune SKJÆRMOEN (NOR) Skoda Fabia R5, Printsport

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Matt2

December 07, 2016 12:47 PM

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