Toyota Gazoo Racing will skip this week’s Goodwood Festival of Speed as a coronavirus precaution ahead of next week’s Rally Estonia.
Team principal Jari-Matti Latvala, World Rally Championship star Elfyn Evans and triple Dakar winner Nasser Al-Attiyah (from TGR’s South African-based off-road division) were scheduled to attend the British event, but the decision has been taken to avoid the crowds.
Latvala told DirtFish: “We have to take this decision. Of course, we are sorry not to be coming. Personally, I have always enjoyed my time at Goodwood – it’s a really nice event.
“But, we have to be sensible and at these times it’s sensible to take as many precautions as possible when it comes to the pandemic. We have Rally Estonia coming a few days after Goodwood and we have to do everything possible to stay healthy.”
Goodwood’s Festival of Speed goes ahead this week as part of the British government’s Events Research Programme, aiming to further the understanding of the spread of COVID-19.
Attendees must provide a negative lateral flow test conducted within 48 hours of arrival or be fully vaccinated for at least 14 days.
Without a British round of the World Rally Championship for the second consecutive season, Evans admitted he was looking forward to seeing his home fans.
“I understand the team’s decision,” said the Welshman. “It’s a shame.
“There’s no Rally GB this year, so it would have been nice to come home and see some of the fans and put on a bit of a show for them.
“Jari-Matti and I were at Speedweek last year and enjoyed that event. But, like [Jari-Matti] said, the focus has to be on the WRC rounds.”
Toyota arrives in Tartu firmly in control of both championships, with Sébastien Ogier 34 points clear of Evans and 56 up on Hyundai’s third-placed Thierry Neuville. In the makes’ race, Toyota stands 59 points clear of defending champion Hyundai.