Rallye Monte-Carlo: Shakedown
Toyota trio ready to kick-start the new season
The Toyota Yaris WRC is fully prepared for the start of the 2018 FIA World Rally Championship season after the completion of the shakedown stage ahead of Rallye Monte-Carlo. Having already undertaken a rigorous winter testing programme, drivers Jari-Matti Latvala, Ott Tänak and Esapekka Lappi took their cars out for a final check before the rally begins tomorrow evening.
The shakedown took place over a 3.35-kilometre section of road in the mountains just above Gap, where the service park is located. The conditions were sunny and dry, and although the weather seems unlikely to stay like that for the rally, the shakedown still provided the drivers with the chance to get comfortable behind the wheel and to build their confidence.
Kaj Lindström (Sporting Director)
“It has been a good shakedown for us. Shakedown here is more about getting a confidence boost, and the drivers all seemed quite happy afterwards, so we are ready to go. We have seen that everything is working well ahead of the first rally, so we are very pleased. My feeling is the first two days of the rally will be the really important days.”
Jari-Matti Latvala (Driver car 7)
“I’m quite happy now that we have done the shakedown: it allowed me to get a feeling for the car and for the driving. This is the most important thing and now I feel ready to kick-off the season. In the first two runs I wasn’t completely happy with the turn-in, but then we changed the front differential in service and afterwards the car was turning easier and that gave me more confidence. It’s going to be a difficult start tomorrow with Sisteron: it has good grip in most places but there is an icy downhill stretch where you have to be cautious.”
Ott Tänak (Driver car 8)
“Shakedown was good. I had a good feeling from the start and I had nothing to complain about on the car, which is very positive. The rally will be very different to shakedown with some very difficult weather but at least we have a good feeling with the car to start with. The night stages will be a very big challenge to start the rally with. Hopefully we will be in a good position tomorrow night and then we can go from there.”
Esapekka Lappi (Driver car 9)
“The feeling is quite good to be honest. I think in the first two runs on shakedown I was struggling a bit with the confidence but we made small changes to the car and this helped a lot. My approach to this rally is going to be quite careful: a lot of things can happen so I hope this will pay off come Sunday. I would like to increase my speed step by step. I’m really looking forward to it.”
The rally begins for real tomorrow in Monte Carlo, with a ceremonial start in the Place du Casino from just before 18:00. On their way back to Gap, the drivers face two long and challenging stages in the dark. Unusually, the first stage (Thoard-Sisteron at 21:43) will also be the longest of the event, at 36.69 kilometres. The second, Bayons-Breziers at 22:51, is 25.49 kilometres long. The cars will arrive in service at around midnight.
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