Toyota’s team principal Jari-Matti Latvala has expressed his happiness at hearing that FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulyaem wants to commit more of his time to improving the World Rally Championship.
During last weekend’s Monte Carlo Rally, Ben Sulayem admitted that since his appointment as president of the FIA, he’s “been sucked into Formula 1” and has not been able to give the WRC as much focus as he would like.
Ben Sulyaem is no stranger to rallying having won the Middle Eastern Rally Championship a record 14 times. He’s also had 23 WRC starts with a best result of sixth on Rally Argentina in 1993.
When he was appointed president he stated that the WRC would be a priority for him, but up until now, that priority hasn’t materialized, with his focus being drawn to F1.
When Ben Sulayem’s comments were put to him by DirtFish, Latvala said he’s very happy about the new approach from the FIA president, as he feels there are plenty of improvements to be made with the WRC.
“I’m very happy about that because there are some areas where we also need to work in WRC,” explained Latvala.
“We need to get more teams, we need to get more manufacturers, we need to be tempting to get them in the sport, and that is where we need to I think do a bit of work.
“There is of course some areas where we need to change.”
And Latvala isn’t solely relying on the FIA to press on with those changes. He acknowledges that it’s a team effort and Toyota needs to give Ben Sulayem and the FIA as much assistance and support as needed.
“Yeah, yeah, of course,” was Latvala’s response when asked if he’s ready to work hand-in-hand with the FIA.
“That is what I think with the regulations we need to look, where we can.
“For me one of the things is we need to be able to say ‘save the costs’.
“I need to somehow try to reduce the costs, and together with the FIA we need to work and improve to be there tempting for the manufacturers to be here.”
Toyota driver Elfyn Evans agreed that it’s reassuring the WRC hasn’t escaped the FIA’s attention.
“It’s nice to hear let’s say that it’s on the agenda,” he told DirtFish.
“For sure there’s areas that need addressing, mostly in terms of promotion I would say, so yeah it would be nice to see what’s on the horizon in the near future.”