Meeke and Latvala confirmed at Toyota
TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team is pleased to confirm its driver line-up for the 2019 FIA World Rally Championship season, when it will again enter three Toyota Yaris WRC models on every event.
Ott Tänak will continue to drive the Toyota Yaris WRC next year alongside co-driver Martin Järveoja after joining the team of the 2018 season, during which they have already won on four occasions and are challenging for the drivers’ championship.
Jari-Matti Latvala will also stay with the team. The experienced Latvala and co-driver Miikka Anttila have been a key part of the team since its debut in Monte Carlo in January 2017. They scored the first podium of Toyota’s WRC return on the very same event, and the first victory just a few weeks later in Sweden. Latvala has achieved four podiums so far this year, including three in the last four rounds.
Joining Tänak and Latvala in the line-up for 2019 will be Kris Meeke. The Northern Irishman is recognised as one of the quickest drivers in the WRC, claiming five rally wins since 2015. Meeke, whose co-driver will be confirmed at a later date, will join TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team to form a fast and experienced driver line-up.
Esapekka Lappi and co-driver Janne Ferm will leave the team following the conclusion of the 2018 season. The pair made their debut in the top category of the WRC with Toyota on Rally Portugal last year, and soon scored their maiden victory at Rally Finland. This season they have taken three podium finishes so far, contributing to the team’s current position in the lead of the manufacturers’ championship. TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team would like to thank Esapekka and Janne for their hard work.
“We are all very excited to have Kris joining us here at TOYOTA GAZOO Racing. We know that he is very fast, but he also brings a lot of experience. His technical understanding is at a really high level and I believe he can provide new knowledge and ideas to help us in our aim to keep making the Yaris WRC better,” Tommi Makinen said.
“I am also very pleased that Jari-Matti will continue to be part of our team. He has done some brilliant work for us and has recently been regularly on the podium again, which has been very important.”
“Together with Ott, who has proven that he is absolutely one of the fastest drivers right now, I think we have a very strong line-up for next year, with three drivers who are all quick, experienced and can win rallies. I believe we will again have a strong team to fight for both the drivers’ and manufacturers’ titles.”
“Lastly, I am very sorry to see that Esapekka has decided to leave us for a new challenge, but we all wish him the best of luck for the future.”