Toyota Gazoo Racing team principal Tommi Makinen says he is struggling to comprehend the magnitude of Jari-Matti Latvala's win on the Rally Sweden as the manufacturer went a long way to affirm its World Rally Championship title credentials.
The Finn took full advantage of long-time leader Thierry Neuville's retirement ahead of the final day to brush off the attentions of Ott Tanak and Sebastien Ogier for the win in a tense three stage shootout.
Only the second competitive outing for the new Yaris WRC, the result marks Toyota's first win since 1999 when it last competed in the championship, while Latvala has now ascended to the top of the standings.
Coupled to what was already an unexpected podium on its debut in Monte Carlo, team boss and former WRC champion Makinen is thrilled to see the manufacturer's efforts bear fruit far earlier than anticipated.
“It's very hard to find the words to describe what I am feeling right now: what we are all feeling. Monte-Carlo was an unexpected result, but this is beyond unexpected. Of course we were lucky to have this win, but it's also a huge tribute to the talent of Jari-Matti and the united team work that has taken place in Finland, Germany and Japan.
“It's an incredible feeling and I just want to thank everybody who has made it possible: especially our chairman Mr Toyoda for his faith in us. This is a special day that we are all going to remember for a very long time, but at the same time we will keep our feet on the ground now and continue to work as hard as always.”
Though Latvala spares a thought for Neuville, who crashed out of a comfortable lead for the second event in succession, he says such a result leaves him craving more.
”I am so, so happy. For a new team and new car to win its second rally: I really have no words. I think I drove my best power stage ever today. Huge thanks to all the team. Now we are super-motivated to continue like this: I just can't wait to get to Mexico.
“It's fantastic to win but I also feel very sorry for Thierry Neuville, who lost the lead yesterday at the super special stage. I have been in a similar situation myself in the past, so I completely understand how he must be feeling now. We know we were lucky, so we need to carry on improving and working for our goal.”