Toyota Yaris WRC posts thrilling performance in Rally Australia season finale

Jari-Matti Latvala put in a fast-charging performance to challenge for victory on the closing day of Rally Australia. The Finn came within ten seconds of the lead in the final round of the 2017 FIA World Rally Championship, only for his hopes to be dashed with an off in the final Power Stage.

It remained for Esapekka Lappi to claim more points for the Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team with a sixth place finish and third in the Power Stage.

In what was the first full year of competition for Toyota since returning to the championship after a break of 18 years, Latvala finished fourth in the drivers’ championship. Toyota Gazoo Racing achieved third place in the manufacturers’ title race on its debut, helped by notable victories in Sweden for Latvala and Finland for Lappi.

Reflecting on his performance in the rain-affected rally, Latvala (below) said: “Obviously this is not the way I wanted to end the year but this is rallying and you have to learn from every experience, even if it doesn’t feel like a positive one at the time. I’d like to apologise for my mistake today after a huge effort from everyone here, and most of all say a big ‘thank you’ to the whole team for delivering a year that went beyond all my expectations.”

Tommi Mäkinen (below), Team Principal, added: “I don’t think anyone could have predicted how this rally would finish, but I don’t think anyone could have predicted all the results we took this season either. So a huge thank you to everyone who made it possible. This disappointment shouldn’t take away anything from what we have achieved this year; it’s been a great performance overall. That doesn’t mean we can relax; we’re already working hard towards next year.”

Final result, Rally Australia

POSITIONDRIVER/CO-DRIVERVEHICLETIME
1Thierry Neuville / Nicolas GilsoulHyundai i20 Coupe WRC2h 35m 44.8s
2Ott Tänak / Martin JarveojaFord Fiesta WRC+ 22.5s
3Hayden Paddon / Seb MarshallHyundai i20 Coupe WRC+ 59.1s
4Sebastien Ogier / Julien IngrassiaFord Fiesta WRC+ 2m 27.7s
5Elfyn Evans / Daniel BarrittFord Fiesta WRC+ 3m 05.6s
6Esapekka Lappi / Janne FermToyota Yaris WRC+ 3m 49.5s
7Kris Meeke / Paul NagleCitroen C3 WRC+ 22m 58.4s
8Richie Dalton / John AllenSkoda Fabia R5+ 24m 39.6s
9Nathan Quinn / Ben SearcyMitsubishi Lancer Evo IX+ 25m 03.4s
10Dean Herridge / Sam HillSubaru Impreza WRX STi+ 29m 52.3s
RetiredJari-Matti Latvala / Miikka AnttilaToyota Yaris WRCDNF

2017 FIA World Rally Championship for drivers

POSITIONDRIVERPOINTS
1Sebastien Ogier232
2Thierry Neuville208
3Ott Tänak191
4Jari-Matti Latvala136
5Elfyn Evans128
6Dani Sordo95
7Kris Meeke77
8Hayden Paddon74
9Juho Hänninen71
10Craig Breen64
11Esapekka Lappi62

2017 FIA World Rally Championship for teams

POSITIONTEAMPOINTS
1M-Sport World Rally Team428
2Hyundai Motorsport345
3Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT251
4Citroen Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team136

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