Latvala turned down Pirelli test role out of Toyota loyalty

Pirelli using a Citroën C3 WRC for its tire testing was a dealbreaker for WRC's most experienced driver


Jari-Matti Latvala has revealed he turned down the chance to test for Pirelli next season out of loyalty to Toyota.

Andreas Mikkelsen was recently named as the man who will drive the Italian firm’s tire development through the remainder of this season, ahead of Pirelli’s full-time return to the World Rally Championship at the start of 2021.

Pirelli will test using a Saintéloc-run Citroën C3 WRC, something which Latvala suggested had been a dealbreaker for joining Pirelli’s WRC test team.

“It would have been very, very interesting to work with Pirelli,” Latvala told DirtFish.

“I have a good history with them from a long time in my career, but I had to say no. I want to be loyal to Toyota and I don’t want to drive a Citroën.

“As long as Toyota is in the World Rally Championship, I want to be there with them.”

Latvala has already admitted he is ready to push for a full-time WRC return in 2022 following the potential for a privately funded part-time campaign next year.

The WRC’s most experienced driver is convinced the next generation of cars will suit him.

“We know that the cars are going to be more sideways in 2022.

“This is not so much to do with [losing] the [center] differential, it’s more to do with the cars having less aero and less suspension travel.

“When you have less aero, the corner speed will be a little bit lower and the cars will not be so straight – I think this will suit my style of driving.

“I have a lot to offer for 2022.”