Latvala: It is not a coincidence the second consecutive 1-2-3-4 in Kenya

The team principal of Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT, Jari-Matti Latvala, believes that the 1-2-3-4 finish at Safari Rally is not random for a second year in a row and that his team has the right philosophy for this tough event.

Toyota secured its third top four finish in Kenya last weekend as its first 1-2-3-4 result came in 1993 when Juha Kannkunen finished ahead of Markku Alen, Ian Duncan and Yasuhiro Iwase. This iconic African rally returned back to the World Rally Championship in 2021 where Sebastien Ogier was the first winner since its come back. After 19 years since the first top four finish, Toyota claimed its second 1-2-3-4 finish in Kenya, but this time Kalle Rovanpera was at the highest place of the podium with Elfyn Evans, Takamoto Katsuta and Ogier following him on the classification. Last weekend, two Hyundai drivers (Esapekka Lappi, Thierry Neuville) were third overall, but they had to retire due to reliability issues (propshaft and suspension respectively), therefore Rovanpera, Evans and Katsuta finished behind Ogier who won Safari Rally for a second time in his WRC career.

"I’m really proud of this result, of this team, and of our drivers", Latvala said. 

"Coming to Kenya this year I didn’t think we could achieve a 1-2-3-4 again when the competition has been so tight recently. 

"But I think it is not a coincidence that we have managed to do this result here two years in a row. 

"It means we have done things right in the team to prepare for this event, that our crews have done a great job, and that all comes together to make this result possible. 

"On this rally, you firstly need a car that is reliable and can take the punishment from these roads, and then you start to look for the performance. 

"This philosophy that our team has had is absolutely the right approach and it shows in the results. 

"This year we also had close competition between our drivers and there were maybe some tensions when it got tighter, but this is normal: we want drivers that have the passion to win. 

"They can’t all win all at the same time, but I’m sure they will all see what an achievement this result is".

Photo Credits: Toyota

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