Latvala enjoying his time with Toyota
- 20th January 2017, 2:56am
Jari-Matti Latvala was happy to be in Monte Carlo. He does not set too many targets for the beginning of the year, maybe more for the end of the year. Martin Holmes reports.
Coming from his old teams, M-Sport and then Volkswagen, he explained that TGR has a completely different philosophy, and that things are done in a completely different way.
“For sure it is very exciting and at the same time to work with a new team, a Finnish-based team. I have seen the world. I’ve seen how things happen in an English team, I saw how it is done in Germany,” Latvala explained.
“But now when I came to Toyota Gazoo Racing I must say that the atmosphere in the team is brilliant, I really like it. Since I started driving the Yaris the car has been getting better and better all the time.
“On snow I’m actually very happy, on the dry tarmac it is going good, but I still have a lack of experience on the wet damp conditions and I haven’t driven so much, only one day, on graveln so for sure for me there are things to learn.
“Now we just need to see how it all works in the rally. Everybody has new cars so we don’t know at which level we are, and I guess it will be interesting for everybody.”
The team is based in Finland, and all the drivers are Finnish.
“Many engineers are from Britain, actually we have a couple of electricians who are Finnish, and I would say overall from the mechanics 50% are also foreign countries from UK, from Estonia, from Germany, even some old Volkswagen mechanics who are following us here, and also from Poland.
“So there are different nationalities in the team which is great.”
Several people now working at TGR are old colleagues.
“I worked with (the Engineering Manager) Tom Fowler at M-Sport. I also worked at M-Sport with Paul Murphy from Ireland who is now Juho’s rally engineer, though my rally engineer, Anthony Sharpe, had only just joined M-Sport when I left in 2012.”
READ MORE: Get more details on Toyota's entry into the WRC by reading the feature articles in the latest issue of RallySport Magazine HERE.
Rally cars can only be successful these days if they work well with their tyres.
“When you have more power and a wider car with aerodynamics, for sure it is using more tyres, that is a fact. So tyre wear is higher and that’s why I think overall I would prefer to have more tyres than what we used to have in the past.
Regarding winter tyres, driving in dry conditions for a long time is not great for the studs, you can rip them off quickly, but other than that the snow tyre seems to last very well.”
The all-asphalt Tour de Corse is coming up quite quickly.
“Yes, Corsica is coming quickly indeed and Corsica is a bit special tarmac rally that you have a lot of corners, very demanding for the tyres, but at least what I know now is that they’re going to make shorter stages than last year, so that’s going to help, I believe.”
Final question, when Mr Makinen is there do you speak to him in Finnish or English?
“Inside the team the language is English and in testing we use English, but of course if there are only Finns then we can speak Finnish …”
- Martin Holmes
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