Toyota faced a choice ahead of Croatia Rally.
In an act of fair play, it nominated just two GR Yaris Rally1s for manufacturer points as World Rally Championship rival Hyundai was running only two i20s after Craig Breen’s tragic passing the week before.
Having considered its options, Toyota decided to nominate Kalle Rovanperä and Sébastien Ogier.
It made sense. The championship leader and reigning world champion.
But hindsight is a wonderful thing. Both Rovanperä and Ogier picked up punctures in the same place on the same stage, ending any hopes of a rally victory. The pair eventually finished fourth and fifth respectively.
All was not lost as Elfyn Evans went on to win the rally, but because he wasn’t registered to score manufacturers’ points it was M-Sport who secured first-place points courtesy of Ott Tänak.
Toyota still extended its points lead over Hyundai, but not by as much as it could have done.
Team principal Jari-Matti Latvala isn’t disappointed though, instead thanking Rovanperä and Ogier for their contribution.
“I think the manufacturers’ championship-wise this rally was pretty even with Hyundai,” Latvala told DirtFish.
“I think that that was important what they did after those punctures. So yeah, they couldn’t have done any more.”
And putting the manufacturers’ points to one side, Latvala felt everyone in his team hit the mark over the duration of the weekend.
“Elfyn, like I said, he drove really well, he deserves the victory,” Latvala said. “Taka [Katsuta] also was improving his performance here. So I’m happy overall.
“Like I said we are very, very satisfied with how this this weekend went. We didn’t come here with like a massive target ‘we have to do this and this’.
“I think for our side the important [thing] was that we could have a safe event and bring the cars home. And that was our target for the weekend, and we achieved it very well.”
Toyota extended its lead over Hyundai by two points to 29, while it also holds the top three positions in the drivers’ championship.
Ogier, Evans and Rovanperä are all split by just one point, with Ogier and Evans sharing the points lead.