Toyota expected a top five finish from Rovanpera's natural driving, not a win

The team principal of Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT, Jari-Matti Latvala, says that he did not expect from Kalle Rovanpera to be victorious in Poland, but the team's expectations was a finish inside the top five considering the last-minute call up.

Sebastien Ogier and Vincent Landais had a road accident during their recce for SS10 and SS14 six days ago as they collided head-on with a passenger car. Everyone was transferred to the hospital where Landais was discharged the same day while Ogier had to remain for an overnight observation. As a result of that, the French crew were not able to take part in Rally Poland, thus Toyota decided to replace them with Rovanpera and Jonne Halttunen who arrived at Mikolajki last Tuesday. They began their recce with the Toyota Yaris in that day and completed it last Wednesday. They had to make their pacenotes from the beginning and had to watch many on-board videos to be well-prepared for the event. On Friday, he was among the five drivers who were fighting for the lead as Andreas Mikkelsen finished first after the end of that day, but he managed to climb the leaderboard at the end of Stage 10. Generally, he stayed out of trouble throughout last weekend and gave an incredible battle with Mikkelsen on Saturday, but the last one suffered from a puncture and costed him four places on Sunday. Rovanpera will participate at Rally Latvia in two weeks and will have Elfyn Evans and Takamoto Katsuta as his teammates while it is yet to be confirmed if Ogier will drive the fourth Yaris as Toyota announced him to replace Sami Pajari a week ago.

"It’s incredible that Kalle and Jonne have been able to win this rally", Latvala said. 

"When I called Kalle on Tuesday afternoon and asked him to drive here in Poland, I told him that I was not expecting him to win. 

"I knew that his natural driving could at least get him inside the top five, which would still help us for the championship. 

"I know it wasn’t the nicest way for a crew to start a rally with no preparation, so thanks to them for thinking about the team and doing everything to support and bringing us lots of points".

Photo Credits: Toyota

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