Toyota president Akio Toyoda is delighted the marque has “finally” won Rally México, praising the work of the engineers to eradicate overheating issues that have beset the team in the past.
Since Toyota rejoined the World Rally Championship in 2017 it has failed to win in Mexico, with Citroën and M-Sport Ford picking up the spoils.
But this year Sébastien Ogier guided his Yaris WRC to the top step of the podium for the manufacturer, with the cars driven by team-mates Elfyn Evans and Kalle Rovanperä both also within the top five.
Better still, while rivals Hyundai and M-Sport both ran into technical trouble, all three Toyotas ran faultlessly on the high-altitude event.
“We finally won Rally México, in which we have faced some difficulties since we came back to the WRC,” Toyoda said.
“Congratulations and thank you, Sébastien and Julien [Ingrassia, Ogier’s co-driver].
“The first two years in México, we could not fight during the rally due to overheating. But our engineers have put a lot of effort into improving the cooling system and finally we reached the top of the podium.”
Sporting director Kaj Lindström echoed Toyoda’s comments, admitting the team “have been learning from our mistakes” from previous years.
“We are very happy with this result,” he said.
“I’m very pleased first of all that Séb and Julien have taken their first victory with us, and also that the team has taken its first victory in México. We struggled when we first came here in 2017, but we have been learning from our mistakes and now we have three cars in the top five.
“Elfyn did a great job first on the road to do a clean run, and Kalle has also done incredibly well on one of the most difficult rallies for a rookie.”
Evans was competing in a Toyota Yaris WRC on gravel for the first time in México, having moved from M-Sport in the off-season.
While the team itself was cautious with its expectations, Evans said he had “no reason” not to expect the car to be up to the job before the rally got underway.
“There was a lot of question marks before coming, or certainly I got asked the question a lot [whether the Yaris could win],” he told DirtFish.
“I could already sense inside the team there was absolutely no doubt that the car was up to the job, and to be honest I had no reason [not] to believe either, and the proof is in the pudding.”