Rally Mexico will be Toyota's toughest test - WRC leader Latvala

World Rally Championship leader Jari-Matti Latvala has ruled himself out of Rally Mexico victory and warned it will be the toughest event of Toyota's comeback year

Rally Mexico will be Toyota's toughest test - WRC leader Latvala

Beyond the disadvantage of running first on the dusty roads at the start of the first gravel rally of the WRC season next week, Latvala is concerned at Toyota's lack of testing in the hot and high-altitude conditions.

His former team Volkswagen tested on site in Mexico, whereas Toyota did its preparation in southern Spain.

"I don't think I have much chance to win in Mexico," Latvala told Autosport.

"I am not afraid of opening the road, but we must be realistic about what we can expect from this position.

"I saw last year the advantage I had from position seven on the road - I was 40 seconds ahead of [Sebastien] Ogier at the end of day one.

"Mexico is going to be the most difficult rally of the season for us.

"We are a new team going to Mexico for the first time.

"The other teams have a lot of experience of this rally and these conditions.

"The team has done some simulation work, but we don't know too much about how things will work when we get to Mexico."

The Spanish test last week was Latvala's second time in the Yaris on gravel.

"We got some high altitude in Spain," said Latvala.

"We were driving around 2000 metres [above sea level], which was good, but it could have been better - the road actually went up to 2300 metres but above 2000 it was full snow. Not so much use for Mexico!"

Video of Latvala rolling the Yaris appeared on social media during the test, but the crash barely interrupted running.

"I have some experience of these things... and this one was probably the roll with the least damage in my whole career," said Latvala.

"I was running with worn tyres at the rear to get a feel for how it would be.

"Braking for the corner, the car got onto the loose at the side of the road, I lost the rear and rolled into some bushes.

"I broke a rear bumper, a cross-member was dented at the front and there were some marks on the door - that was it!

"Straight after that, I did another 100 kilometres."

shares
comments
Andreas Mikkelsen would consider 2017 WRC2 title bid with Skoda

Previous article

Andreas Mikkelsen would consider 2017 WRC2 title bid with Skoda

Next article

Citroen's start to WRC 2017 season hurt by 'lack of preparation'

Citroen's start to WRC 2017 season hurt by 'lack of preparation'
Load comments
How Finland’s newest rally hero made WRC history in Estonia Plus

How Finland’s newest rally hero made WRC history in Estonia

Kalle Rovanpera broke a decade-old record in becoming the World Rally Championship's youngest-ever winner in a truly dominant performance on Estonia's fast gravel roads. Staving off the challenge of Hyundai's Craig Breen, his committed drive showed a maturity beyond his 20 years that gives Toyota's post-Ogier era a far brighter complexion

WRC
Jul 19, 2021
How WRC's new Safari adventure ended with a familiar tale Plus

How WRC's new Safari adventure ended with a familiar tale

The World Rally Championship’s delayed return to the Safari Rally was always set throw up some surprises, but aside from a spirited showing by Thierry Neuville it became another painful event for Hyundai in 2021. Once again it was Sebastien Ogier who took full advantage as he completed a stunning comeback drive

WRC
Jun 28, 2021
Remembering Colin McRae’s final WRC win Plus

Remembering Colin McRae’s final WRC win

The Safari Rally returns to the World Rally Championship this weekend for the first time since 2002 - when crowd favourite Colin McRae set aside the maximum attack style for which he was renowned to deliver a textbook third win

WRC
Jun 23, 2021
How Hyundai's broken record gave Toyota a special Sardinia 1-2 Plus

How Hyundai's broken record gave Toyota a special Sardinia 1-2

For the second WRC gravel rally in a row, a promising Friday for Hyundai turned into desolation as Toyota gratefully picked up the pieces. This time it was championship leader Sebastien Ogier who took full advantage after Ott Tanak and Dani Sordo retired to score a memorable victory, having swept the road on the first two days

WRC
Jun 7, 2021
How Hyundai's latest self-destruction handed Evans Portugal victory Plus

How Hyundai's latest self-destruction handed Evans Portugal victory

At one point Hyundai held the top three positions in Portugal, but when trouble struck the Korean marque's two leading chargers, a grateful Elfyn Evans was on hand to see off Hyundai third man Dani Sordo and become the third different winner in four rallies

WRC
May 24, 2021
Why the success of AVB's WRC debut won't be defined on the stages Plus

Why the success of AVB's WRC debut won't be defined on the stages

Three years after a Dakar Rally crash resulted in him being airlifted to hospital, Andre Villas-Boas is preparing to make his debut on his home round of the World Rally Championship later this month. His goals for the event are modest, but the same cannot be said for the charities he plans to promote where his true impact could be felt

WRC
May 13, 2021
Why there's no easy fix for Hyundai's operational Achilles Heel Plus

Why there's no easy fix for Hyundai's operational Achilles Heel

Hyundai Motorsport boss Andrea Adamo was vocal in his criticism of his team's tyre choices on Rally Croatia and declared that he "had better move my ass and solve it". Doing so will be vital to getting Hyundai's 2021 WRC title hopes back on track, but finding the root of the problem won't be the work of a moment

WRC
Apr 28, 2021
How Ogier held on after a shock bump in the road to triumph in Croatia Plus

How Ogier held on after a shock bump in the road to triumph in Croatia

Sebastien Ogier was already in an incredibly tight fight at Rally Croatia before a surprise collision with public road traffic at the start of the final day. But the defending champion held his nerve to take a narrow victory and create further World Rally Championship history

WRC
Apr 26, 2021