Latvala won’t ask Ogier to slow for Rovanperä

Extra points will be of more benefit to Rovanperä than Ogier, but Latvala won't change his team orders policy


Toyota team principal Jari-Matti Latvala will not ask Sébastien Ogier to let Kalle Rovanperä finish ahead of him on Croatia Rally.

Heading into the final day, Ogier leads his fellow Toyota-driving world champion by just two seconds in the battle for fourth.

Although Ogier currently leads the World Rally Championship, he is not contesting a full season whereas Rovanperä is.

But Latvala – who was often asked, particularly when driving for Ford – throughout his career to slow down for team-mates will not give his drivers the same instruction on Sunday, even if an extra two points could prove critical in Rovanperä’s title defense.


“It is nice to watch to be fair and the good thing is that they are both world champions,” Latvala said when asked if he was enjoying the battle between his two cars.

“Kalle, let’s say it’s been a bit tough the beginning of the season for him so I’m sure he wants to earn this battle for good, and at the same time Séb, knowing Séb, is the most ambitious driver I have ever seen so he doesn’t want to give up.

“So in that sense it’s great to see and of course I’m not going to say anything to them so they can drive the competition.”

Toyota has famously never chosen to adopt any sort of team orders, except for on the 2021 Monza Rally where it asked Rovanperä to drive conservatively and secure the manufacturers’ championship while Ogier and Elfyn Evans fought for the drivers’ crown.

Hyundai meanwhile has demonstrated it is more than happy to do all it can to help Thierry Neuville’s championship bid, attempting to promote him to second place in Sweden.


When it was pointed out to him that Hyundai was prepared to go to those lengths, Latvala explained his reasoning for not wanting “to interfere with drivers”.

He said: “I can personally tell you that the worst feeling as a driver you can get is a phone call to the car to say ‘can you slow down?’

“This is the phone call I always hated if you got it and I don’t want our drivers to experience that.”

The other Toyota of Evans meanwhile leads the rally by 25.4 seconds over M-Sport’s Ott Tänak.

Latvala confessed he was “getting a little bit worried” by Tänak’s strong times on Saturday afternoon, but the Puma pilot’s problems means “we can feel a bit more relaxed now this evening”.

But not too relaxed.

“Of course there is still things always that can happen,” Latvala said, “but if the weather is consistent at least you don’t need to take risks in my opinion.”