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Latvala admits Toyota's five-car WRC expansion a possibility

Toyota World Rally Championship boss Jari-Matti Latvala has hinted his team could expand to five cars later this season, but a final decision will be down to the Japanese manufacturer.

Takamoto Katsuta, Aaron Johnston, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT NG Toyota GR Yaris Rally1

Takamoto Katsuta, Aaron Johnston, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT NG Toyota GR Yaris Rally1

McKlein / Motorsport Images

Suggestions the factory Toyota squad could increase its entries have been rumbling on since the start of the new Rally1 hybrid campaign.

However, speculation the team could field five GR Yaris Rally1 cars at WRC events increased after the squad rolled out its new portable Service Park structure at Rally Croatia last weekend.

Since the start of the season, Toyota had been operating out of a temporary structure that could only house three cars with its fourth entry for Takamoto Katsuta operating out of an adjacent tent.

In Croatia the team introduced a larger building featuring five bays with Katsuta's entry moving in to take up the fourth bay.

Asked if there was anything to read into the upgraded building, Latvala told Autosport: "Let's see."

When pressed further on the matter, Latvala confirmed there is a chance the team could add an extra car at events but a decision is yet to be made.

"We have that possibility, basically in the second half of the season, but it is depending a lot on what Toyota wants to do," he added. "We don't know at this point if we are going to have it [a fifth car] or not so they [Toyota] will decide."

Toyota building overview

Toyota building overview

Photo by: Tom Howard

Toyota is fielding four cars at all 13 WRC events this season for Elfyn Evans, Kalle Rovanpera and Katsuta, alongside an entry shared by eight-time world champion Ogier and Esapekka Lappi.

Ogier is only conducting a limited programme, featuring as many as five rallies, alongside his World Endurance Championship commitments, while Lappi is expected to complete the majority of the season.

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Should Toyota sign off an expansion to five cars it could see the team able to run Lappi and Ogier at events.

Toyota's rivals M-Sport is set to become the first team to run five Rally1 hybrid machines at Rally Portugal next month for regulars Craig Breen, Gus Greensmith, Adrien Fourmaux, Pierre-Louis Loubet and the returning nine-time WRC champion Sebastien Loeb.

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