The Toyota GAZOO Racing World Rally Team is celebrating a second straight victory after Ott Tanak followed his Rally Finland triumph by securing victory on Rallye Deutschland over the weekend. The result is the maiden win on asphalt for the Toyota Yaris WRC.
As in Finland, the team achieved a double podium result, with Esapekka Lappi finishing in third place to help Toyota climb to second in the manufacturers’ championship and closing to within 13 points of the leader, the Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT team.
Tanak almost led the rally from start to finish, only briefly conceding the lead after SS2. He carried an advantage of 43.7 seconds into the final day, which he managed carefully through the 2 runs over the 29-km Grafschaft vineyard test. He sealed the win on the Bosenberg Power Stage, where he came within one-tenth of a second of repeating his fastest time in Finland.
It was Tanak and co-driver Martin Jarveoja’s third win since joining Toyota this year, the pair’s second on Rallye Deutschland in as many years, and one that brings Tanak closer to the two drivers ahead of him in the championship – Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville and Ford’s Sebastien Ogier.
Lappi started the day occupying fifth position, and moved up into third with a clean run through the first stage of the day. He was third fastest on the Power Stage as he and co-driver Janne Ferm claimed their second podium in the space of three events and their first on asphalt in the WRC. It also strengthens Lappi’s fine fourth place in the drivers’ standings in his first full season at this level.
“This was definitely the hardest victory I have ever had. For the majority of the weekend, it was a really close fight and I had to push so hard. On Friday in the vineyards, I felt very comfortable with the car. On Saturday morning, I did not feel so confident, but the team really improved the car in service. I am really happy for the whole team: we were really strong this weekend. We are moving in the right direction in the championship but I am still taking it event-by-event: Now my focus is on Turkey and trying to be as well prepared as possible,” said Tanak.
The next round of the 2018 World Rally Championship is Rally Turkey (September 13 – 16) which returns to the championship for the first time since 2010 in a new location around Marmaris on the Mediterranean coast. A combination of smooth fast gravel roads and more demanding rocky mountain passes is expected, along with warm temperatures.
However, the jubilation experienced by the Toyota GAZOO Racing team at the 6 Hours of Silverstone was dampened when both the cars in the 1-2 finished were disqualified following a post-race technical inspection. The #8 TS050 HYBRID crossed the line to win the third round of the World Endurance Championship (WEC), followed by the second-placed #7 car.
Both cars had suffered damage to their respective front floor areas during the race due to impacts against the new kerbs at Silverstone. This also caused both cars to fail deflection tests in post-race scrutineering. As a result, race stewards disqualified both cars.
In a statement used this morning, the team said that the design and construction of the part concerned has not changed since its introduction at the beginning of the 2017 season. Since then it has successfully passed similar tests, most recently at Spa this season. The team is now evaluating its next course of action.