Latvala plots Yaris Rally1 drive on national event

He isn't sure where or when yet – but Toyota team-boss Jari-Matti Latvala wants to compete in a Yaris Rally1 this year

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Toyota team principal Jari-Matti Latvala is keen to drive a GR Yaris Rally1 on a national rally this season.

Ever since becoming Toyota’s team principal in 2021, Latvala hasn’t driven a top-line car in competition – entering rallies in Finland but in his own Group A Celica.

The 18-time World Rally Championship winner has driven Toyota’s latest hybrid Rally1 machine but only briefly at a promotional event in Japan.

Latvala Toyoda

He’s keen to get something more substantial in the diary later this year.

“Somewhere I want to do one nice rally,” he laughed. “Somewhere, I don’t know where but somewhere!

“Let’s say I don’t think I can do world championship but if I could do at least one national rally, that would be something.”

Finland would seem an obvious location for such an outing given it is where both Latvala and Toyota are based, but Latvala isn’t fussy.

“It doesn’t matter,” he said. “Of course, Finland is what I enjoy a lot but also I think these cars are nice [on] like Catalunya type of Tarmac, [that] could be nice to drive.

“But like I said, not the world championship but like a national rally, because I want to understand how the new hybrid cars are. That would be the key.”

Latvala’s short time behind the wheel in the car late last year gave him a “bit of an idea” what the car is like.

“The boost, it is a nice feeling,” he said, “it is a really nice feeling you get with the power.

“For sure the car is powerful and especially on Tarmac you can feel it more than on the gravel because you’re spinning so much on gravel, and the car, I think we spoke about it, the car is a bit more understeering than the previous car but like I said my style has always been a bit aggressive.”

But any potential outing to better his understanding won’t come for several months yet, as Latvala is aware he has a job to do first.

“My priority is my work as team principal and to make sure everything works here well. So it’s only if I dream to drive then I can ask at the end of the year.”