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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
21.05.2017 - 1st place Sébastien Ogier (FRA)-Julien Ingrassia (FRA) Ford Fiesta WRC, M‐Sport World Rally Team, 2nd place Thierry Neuville (BEL)-Nicolas Gilsoul (BEL) Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC, Hyundai Motorsport and 3rd place Dani Sordo (ESP)-Marc Marti (ESP),Hyundai i2 Coupe WRC, Hyundai Motorsport
21.05.2017 - Fabio Andolfi (ITA) Manuel Fenoli (ITA) HYUNDAI i20 R5, ACI TEAM ITALIA
21.05.2017 - HIROKI ARAI (JPN) - GLENN MACNEALL (AUS) FORD FIESTA R5, TOMMI MÄKINEN RACING
21.05.2017 - HIROKI ARAI (JPN) - GLENN MACNEALL (AUS) FORD FIESTA R5, TOMMI MÄKINEN RACING
21.05.2017 - TEEMU SUNINEN (FIN) - MIKKO MARKKULA (FIN) FORD FIESTA R5, M-SPORT WORLD RALLY TEAM
21.05.2017 - Pontus Tidemand (SWE)-Jonas Andersson (SWE) Skoda Fabia R5 WRC2, Skoda Motorsport
21.05.2017 - Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR)-Anders Jaeger (NOR) SKODA FABIA R5, SKODA MOTORSPORT
21.05.2017 - Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR)-Anders Jaeger (NOR) SKODA FABIA R5, SKODA MOTORSPORT
21.05.2017 - JEAN-MICHEL RAOUX (FRA) - THOMAS ESCARTEFIGUE (FRA) CITROEN DS3 WRC
21.05.2017 - Valeriy Gorban (UKR)-Sergei Larens (EST) BMW‐Mini John Cooper Works, Eurolamp World Rally Team
21.05.2017 - Martin Prokop (CZE) - Jan Tomanek (CZE) Ford Fiesta RS WRC, ONEBET JIPOCAR WORLD RALLY TEAM
21.05.2017 - Martin Prokop (CZE) - Jan Tomanek (CZE) Ford Fiesta RS WRC, ONEBET JIPOCAR WORLD RALLY TEAM
21.05.2017 - SHEIK KHALID AL QASSIMI (ARE) - CHRIS PATTERSON (GBR) CITROEN C3 WRC, CITROËN TOTAL ABU DHABI WRT
21.05.2017 - SHEIK KHALID AL QASSIMI (ARE) - CHRIS PATTERSON (GBR) CITROEN C3 WRC, CITROËN TOTAL ABU DHABI WRT
21.05.2017 - Mads Ostberg (NOR)-Ola Floene (NOR) Ford Fiesta WRC, M‐Sport World Rally Team
21.05.2017 - Mads Ostberg (NOR)-Ola Floene (NOR) Ford Fiesta WRC, M‐Sport World Rally Team
21.05.2017 - Essapeka Lappi (FIN) Janne Ferm (FIN), TOYOTA YARIS WRC, TOYOTA GAZOO RACING WRT

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Matt2

December 07, 2016 12:47 PM

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