Latvala hoping for 2023 driver confirmation by Japan

Toyota's lineup is yet to be formally announced, but Jari-Matti Latvala doesn't hold all the cards


Toyota team principal Jari-Matti Latvala hopes the team’s 2023 World Rally Championship driver lineup will be confirmed by Rally Japan in early November – but the ultimate decision doesn’t rest with him.

Toyota has been the class of the field in 2022, winning both the drivers’ title (with Kalle Rovanperä) and the manufacturers’ title for the second year running.

World champion Rovanperä and Elfyn Evans have both driven full-time for the marque this year, while Sébastien Ogier and Esapekka Lappi have shared a third car with Takamoto Katsuta competing in a fourth GR Yaris Rally1 for the Toyota Next Generation concern.

Rovanperä is locked in for 2023 and Evans isn’t understood to be going anywhere either, while Ogier has recently told DirtFish he is looking at a similar program next year as this year, competing as a part-time driver for Toyota. Lappi is also keen to continue with Toyota.

Two months ago, Latvala suggested that there would be no change – stating that sticking with the same lineup of drivers would be the “ideal situation”.

But Ott Tänak’s decision to walk out of his Hyundai contract has reignited the driver market, and no final decision has been made at Toyota quite yet.

Asked about Toyota’s 2023 lineup at the end of Rally Spain, Latvala said: “I cannot give you anything official but I guess the question is, ‘if you win all the championships, is there a point to change something?’

“But it’s not my decision. We have a good influence on this on which drivers we would like to have but of course the final decision comes from TMC [Toyota Motor Corporation].


“Hopefully we will have some news when we arrive in Japan.”

Latvala has not spoken to the media since Tänak’s departure from Hyundai was announced, but he did mention Tänak, unprompted, when asked if it’s OK for him if Toyota in Japan asked for a change that Latvala himself maybe didn’t call for.

“Then, we have to discuss carefully of course, what the benefits are,” said Latvala.

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“We know that Ott Tänak is a fast driver, one of the fastest drivers; I think he and Kalle are the fastest in the championship. But then, is it good for the team, for the championship?

“These are the things we need to discuss, and I think what is good for us is that we can have a good communication so I think we can discuss and finetune, so we are all happy with the decision.

“I hope by Japan, then things will be cleared up, to announce the drivers there. But at this point everything is still open.”