Latvala to drive Rally1 car on Rally Finland

Toyota's team principal will return to competition this summer in a GR Yaris Rally1


Jari-Matti Latvala will return to World Rally Championship action for one rally only at next month’s Rally Finland, driving a fourth factory Toyota GR Yaris Rally1.

The 38-year-old’s sensational return comes as part of a significant Toyota team shake-up for the Jyväskylä-based event, with Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team president Akio Toyoda stepping into Latvala’s shoes as team principal for round nine.

“This is actually quite unreal,” Latvala told DirtFish. “In the last 20 years, I have driven every kind of World Rally Car, but I have never competed in the Rally1 car.

“At the end of last season, I was in Japan and talking to the big boss Akio Toyoda. I told him it would be my dream to drive one more time in Finland. After two years as team principal, it has been a bit difficult for me to drive.


“I said to Akio, I would like to do this before I’m 40; there was still 2023, ’24 and ’25. He said we need to do it. Because we have the fourth car to rent out this year, we had a car available this year, so this is how it happened.”

But what about the president stepping into his shoes?

“Akio told me he would be coming to Rally Finland,” he said, “so I said: ‘OK, then I drive and you are team principal.’

“His response was: ‘Hmm, this is a good idea.’ We shook hands and it was done. He will take over my work on the event and I’m happy to give him that job! It will make my life easier.”

The big question remains, the one about how this is all going to end?

“I think I will be quite nervous before the first stage,” Latvala said.

“I have a one-day test on the Monday before the rally – I can test as much as I want, but I have to remember this is the car I will use on the rally.

“For me, a result between fifth and 10th will be good.”

Latvala will be co-driven by Juho Hänninen.

Words:David Evans