Japan Airlines has flown some fairly special cargo in its time. But nothing as special as this. On Wednesday a world championship-laden JAL flight departed Europe bound for Tokyo with Toyota Gazoo Racing team principal Jari-Matti Latvala and all four crews onboard.
It’s the first time the drivers, co-drivers and senior team personnel have travelled on the same flight and the first time Toyota’s partner airline has worked so closely on the logistics.
“We have been waiting to make this flight for quite a long time now,” Latvala told DirtFish. “Like you know, JAL is one of our sponsors, so it’s really nice to be able to bring them in and make them part of the story for our home rally.
“It’s also quite a moment to have everybody from the crews and a lot of the team travelling together.”
Based out of Toyota Stadium in Toyota city, Aichi, next week’s final round of the World Rally Championship might not kick off competitively for a week, but newly crowned world champions Kalle Rovanperä, Jonne Halttunen and the whole team have plenty of activities planned across the weekend and before the recce starts next week.
“There is a lot of PR things coming,” said Latvala, “and we’re really happy to be working on these. Three times we have come close to seeing the WRC back in Japan and now it’s really happening. It’s a very big thing for us, the wait has been long!”