Toyota might have fast rallies licked, but there’s been a question mark over the Yaris WRC’s ability to deal with the toughest of the roughest rallies in places like Turkey.
Yes, Ott Tänak might have won in Turkey driving a Toyota in 2018, but the team – and the Estonian – are quick to admit the result came to them rather than the Yaris being a dominant force. Jari-Matti Latvala’s sixth place was the best the team could manage last time out.
While Toyota’s Tom Fowler is keen to avoid doing Rally of Turkey and Ypres Rally together – should the Belgian event’s addition to the World Rally Championship be signed off – he admits he wants to demonstrate the rough-rally development achieved by his team in the last 12 months.
“Turkey has been a bit of a jinx rally for us, that’s sure,” said Fowler. “To be honest, I think we feel a little bit more confident about Ypres than we do about Turkey, but on the other hand we know we have concentrated on Turkey since that event last year and we have found out some reasons why Turkey hasn’t gone so well.
“We don’t have any problems with either event in terms of performance, but because of the jinx situation I think Ypres probably suit us better.
“The main issue for us in Turkey is that we couldn’t keep the same level of performance when we went to a higher ride height. This was a fairly public comment made by drivers and people around the team.
“We’ve done some work to understand why that was and have made some adjustments in the suspension geometry to counter that. We’ve definitely made some steps forward and, in some ways, it would be a shame not to see if that’s working in Turkey because hiding from the problem is not going to help us long-term.”