The reason why Yaris lost the tailgate after crashes in the two last rallies

The team principal of Toyota Gazoo WRT, Jari-Matti Latvala, gives his own explaination of why the tailgate and the rear spoiler of Yaris are missing after crashes.

Kalle Rovanpera hit a tree with the rear of his Yaris in Greece and from this incident the rear spoiler and the tailgate were missing resulting in losing aerodynamics. A similar incident happened to Elfyn Evans in New Zealand when he touched a bank and then rolled his car. On the other hand, Sebastien Ogier lost the upper part of rear spoiler in NZ after hitting a tree brunch.

According to Latvala, the new cars do not use anymore a production chassis, but a bespoke chassis which is made by carbon fiber. This material is not flexible in comparison with the steel that it was used to use at the older WRC cars, therefore the current cars are prone to break more easily than the previous generation cars.

"I think it’s coming from the fact we have quite a big rear spoiler", Latvala said.

"Of course the attachment of the rear spoiler to the tailgate needs to be strong, and now when the roof is this carbon fiber, it’s not steel like in the old generation car, what happens I think is with these impacts, the carbon fiber breaks.

"Metal will always flex, but carbon doesn’t flex and this is what happens.

"When you have an impact you break the carbon fiber and then there is nothing to hold the tailgate, that’s why it comes out.

"On older cars, the roof was sort of supporting the tailgate.”

"When we went to the new regulations for this year, we amended a lot of things, one of the major things being the chassis.

"So we don’t use a production chassis anymore. 

"It’s a completely bespoke chassis, what we call a spaceframe, which means a lot of the body panels are actually made of carbon fiber.

"So all of those panels above the rear of the car are carbon fiber whereas on the old cars it would have had a steel roof and a bit more structure at the back.

"So when you see a roll now, those center panels come off. 

"And it’s what we saw with Elfyn as well with the tailgate, it came off".


Photo Credits: Toyota

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