World Rally champion Kalle Rovanperä has urged his Toyota team to work on improving the GR Yaris Rally1’s pace in second-pass conditions.
Toyota claimed a 1-2 finish on the season-opening Monte Carlo Rally as Sébastien Ogier led Rovanperä home – while Elfyn Evans had the pace for a podium too before a puncture knocked him back to fourth.
But on Rally Sweden Toyota failed to make the podium with any of its three cars for just the third time in the Rally1 era; Rovanperä finishing the closest to the rostrum, just 5.1 seconds shy.
As road sweeper on the first day, Rovanperä was at a natural disadvantage throughout the Sweden weekend but he’s equally sure that the car’s performance in second-pass conditions – where the road was more broken up and rutted – also cost him the chance to fight for a top result.
“It’s quite clear we were always fast on the first-pass conditions,” Rovanperä said.
“I think it’s a bit specific here, but for sure our car has never been so good on the second-pass conditions than like Hyundai. So, we need to work on that.
“Definitely we need to make the second passes a bit better. We are always struggling a bit more there than the first pass.”
Rovanperä pointed to Sunday’s Västervik stage as an example, where he was quickest by 1.5s on the first pass but six seconds off the pace the second time around.
Rovanperä’s average stage position on first vs second pass:
But he was keen to stress that Toyota’s performance was “quite good overall”; it just wasn’t optimized for the repeat run of stages.
“We still are in the same pace if we take the whole weekend,” Rovanperä said, “but definitely we need to work on the second-pass setups.
“I was quite clear that I lost time driving still good, same as all the time. But first pass I can be stage winning time and then lose way too much on the second pass, so it’s not so good.”
Rovanperä’s target in Sweden was to win “like always”, but despite missing out on that – and not feeling happy on the second pass – he was still pleased with his overall performance.
“We lost the fight for the win on the road on Friday, so I can be quite happy still this weekend,” he said.
“We lost 30 seconds on one stage on Friday two times and after that we are only 30 seconds behind now. So still quite an OK weekend.”
The reigning champion confirmed Toyota has “some testing” planned ahead of next month’s Rally México “so hopefully we will get the car ready”.
He added: “And yeah, finally we don’t have to open the road there so it should be a bit nicer.”