Rally Sweden: Day 1
TOYOTA GAZOO Racing launches its Rally Sweden mission
TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team is ready for a full day of ice and snow-covered stages following the shakedown and opening super special stage at Rally Sweden on Thursday. The team's driver line-up of Ott Tänak, Jari-Matti Latvala and Kris Meeke all safely completed the head-to-head course around the Karlstad trotting track this evening inside the top 10 overall.
Shakedown was held this morning close to the service park in Torsby, providing the teams and drivers with a chance to confirm settings ahead of the rally. Tänak finished second-fastest, with Meeke fourth and Latvala ninth.
When the competitive action got underway in Karlstad, Tänak was again the leading Toyota driver, setting the fourth fastest time. Latvala, who officially set a new record by starting his 197th FIA World Rally Championship event, was just behind in fifth. Meeke was in equal ninth place and within 4.4 seconds of the lead heading into Friday. The fourth Yaris WRC driven by the returning two-time champion Marcus Gröhnholm (as a private entry) was also inside the top 10 in eighth.
Tom Fowler (Technical Director)
“We've had a good day and now we're ready for the first full-length stages tomorrow. We had a successful shakedown this morning. We were very happy with our performance on the first runs, when our cars posted the three fastest times. That was probably the most representative part of the shakedown, as the stage conditions then deteriorated very quickly with so many cars passing through. A big factor here will be the melting of the snow and ice in the warmer temperatures we're experiencing this week. We're confident that in the morning, with not many cars running in front of us, we should have nice conditions. On the second pass, the conditions will be much worse. Managing the tyres well and making sure that we have enough studs left through each loop will be key.”
Ott Tänak (Driver car 8)
“The first stage here is a challenging one but we got through it with no problems. Tomorrow it looks like we should have the best possible conditions running early on the road, so it's going to be a key day for us and it's very important to have a good performance. We saw in shakedown that there could be quite a lot of gravel coming through on the second pass, so tyre management will be tough. The car was behaving well and I was confident, so everything is looking good and we are well-prepared. Let's see what the morning brings.”
Jari-Matti Latvala (Driver car 10)
“It's always great to start the rally in Karlstad and even more so for my 197th start! I felt some pressure to get through that stage, but now I can focus on the real action tomorrow! We have some big snowbanks on the stages so it should be very enjoyable to drive. We just hope that the weather doesn't get too mild, as then the gravel comes up and can destroy the studded tyres. In shakedown, the car was feeling very good on the first pass in the icy conditions, and we tested a couple of ideas for the second pass. Now I know what we need to do for those conditions.”
Kris Meeke (Driver car 5)
“The first stage here in Karlstad is always a tricky one and my aim was just to get through it cleanly. There wasn't a lot of snow so it wasn't very enjoyable to drive. Shakedown was good for us: We had a good rhythm on the first couple of passes. On the third loop it started to get quite rutted, and I hit a bump that pushed the car into a snowbank. But I was generally happy with the speed. With the milder weather the conditions will be mixed this weekend, but the car is certainly nice to drive on the frozen roads and I'm eager to get started in the morning.”
End of day one (Thursday):
1 Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) 1m34.9s
2 Sebastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (Citroën C3 WRC) +0.8s
3 Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders Jaeger-Amland (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +1.1s
4 Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja (Toyota Yaris WRC) +1.9s
5 Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (Toyota Yaris WRC) +2.0s
6 Teemu Suninen/Marko Salminen (Ford Fiesta WRC) +2.7s
7 Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm (Citroën C3 WRC) +3.0s
8 Marcus Grönholm/Timo Rautiainen (Toyota Yaris WRC) +4.1s
9= Eerik Pietarinen/Juhana Raitanen (Skoda Fabia R5) +4.4s
9= Kris Meeke/Seb Marshall (Toyota Yaris WRC) +4.4s
(Results as of 21:00 on Thursday, for the latest results please visit www.wrc.com)
What's next?The first full day of the rally on Friday takes place mostly over the border in Norway. Three stages make up the main loop, which is run twice either side of service in Torsby. One stage, Röjden, begins in Sweden, crosses into Norway and finishes back in Sweden. An additional stage next to the service park rounds out the day.
Press kit and Event pictures will be uploaded here
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