Toyota Yaris WRC Races to Victory in Sweden
The Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team celebrated its first win of the 2019 World Rally Championship season after Ott Tänak drove to a well-deserved victory at Rally Sweden.
The stage held special significance for the team, as it was in the same place that the Toyota Yaris WRC car scored its maiden triumph in 2017.
Tänak dominated the second round and was able to claim maximum points by also winning the final Power Stage. He and co-pilot Martin Järveoja were ultimately classified nearly 54 seconds ahead of the second-place car, a remarkable feat in an otherwise tight group.
“It is brilliant to get a win here in the second round of the season and to be leading both championships,” said Tommi Mäkinen, Team Principal for the Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team. “Ott has dominated the whole weekend, showing everyone how to drive in the difficult conditions. He is really strong at the moment.”
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Though Ott’s two fellow Toyota drivers didn’t fare quite as well, Akio Toyoda — the company president and a self-professed motorsport enthusiast that Toyota employees affectionately call “master driver” — had only positive words to say to the team.
“I felt sorry that Jari-Matti, Miikka, Kris and Seb missed the podium,” he said. “But at the same time, I felt a bit glad that they were there. It is not only because I see their smiles, but also because I felt that we were facing strong rivals.”
He added that the 2019 season was already shaping up to be different than the two that came before despite having only completed two rallies, pointing out that this was the first time Toyota could fight for victory from the beginning.
“The season has just started,” he said. “In the rest of the season, over 12 rounds, we will have tight battles with our strong rivals. This will make WRC more exciting and will help us make ever-better cars.”
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