Toyota gives Latvala extra rally as apology

Latvala's Rally Sweden is over, but Mäkinen adds Italy to his program

Jari-Matti Latvala

Toyota team principal Tommi Mäkinen has apologized to Jari-Matti Latvala for his early retirement from Rally Sweden and promised the Finn a run at Rally Italy in June to make up for it.

Toyota confirmed Latvala would take no further part in Rally Sweden after a power cable problem cost him more than a minute on the Nyckelvattnet test on Friday morning.

While there was an impact on the underside of the Yaris WRC, Mäkinen revealed to DirtFish that human error was the main problem.

The four-time world champion said: “There was purely a small human mistake. There was quite an impact directly to the sumpguard and this damaged the main power cable.

“The impact was nothing to destroy the car, but it destroyed the cable. That’s why it started cutting.

“Unfortunately I must say the cable was simply [fitted on the] wrong side of the bracket. All we can do is make sure it doesn’t happen again.

“I am sorry for him and sorry for everybody. This is the first time this has happened.”

Asked about Latvala’s future rallies, Mäkinen said his team had already began working on a new program for the Italian island round.

“We are investigating another new rally for him and we are looking Sardinia,” he said.

“We could have fitted the new power cable, but there’s not so much point to send him tomorrow.

“If it snows and he’s running first on the road then what can he make? What can he do.

“We’ll send him to another rally instead. There’s no chance to do anything more here tomorrow.”

Latvala won an Olbia-based Rally Italy in 2009 and led the event last season before rolling on the Tula stage.

The 34-year-old is contesting a limited programme of rallies entering a Yaris WRC as a privateer this year, having lost his full time seat after three years with Toyota at the end of 2019.