Toyota Gazoo Racing fired up for summer of speed

Team directed by Yari-Matti Latvala will return to Rally Poland on June 27-30 with high ambitions entering the first of three consecutive rounds on fast gravel roads across the European summer.

The FIA World Rally Championship’s first visit to Poland since 2017 marks the mid-point of the 2024 season and is followed by a maiden trip to Latvia in July before the classic Rally Finland – the home event for TGR-WRT – at the beginning of August. While all three events consist of fast and flowing gravel stages, each will also provide its own specific challenges.

Rally Poland is one of the oldest rallies in the world, having been first run in 1921. It was part of the first ever WRC calendar in 1973, and featured again in 2009 and from 2014-2017. As it was during its previous WRC stint, the event is based in Mikołajki in the Masurian lake district in the north-east of the country. While speeds are high, the surface is usually quite soft and sandy, in contrast to the firmer roads found in Finland.

Sébastien Ogier is a two-time former winner of the rally and forms part of the TGR-WRT line-up for a fourth successive event, after victories in Croatia and Portugal and a close second place in Sardinia. Elfyn Evans, joint second in the drivers’ standings, 18 points from the lead, has four previous starts in Poland while Takamoto Katsuta will be making his first appearance on the event.

Following back-to-back victories in Portugal and Sardinia, four GR Yaris Rally2 cars are entered in WRC2, with Sami Pajari (Printsport), Roope Korhonen (Rautio Motorsport) and Georg Linnamäe (RedGrey) to be joined by Gregor Jeets (RedGrey).

The action begins on Thursday evening with a super special stage next to the service park in Mikołajki, which will also be run on Friday and Saturday, which otherwise feature two loops of three stages to the east. Sunday’s action takes place much closer to the service park in the form of two repeated stages.

“After a difficult couple of rallies for us, we’re definitely hoping to find better form on these faster rallies coming up. Even though they’re quite similar in character, they will each have their own challenges. The overriding memory of Rally Poland from the past is that it’s a pretty fast rally: it will be definitely be a change of pace from the last event in Sardinia. It’s also a rally where the roads tended to deteriorate quite a lot, so the second pass can pose a challenge. There will be sections that we’ve driven in the past, but the pacenotes we have are quite old, so in that way it’s more like a new rally and probably quite a busy recce making fresh notes.” – said Elfyn Evans

“I’m looking forward to returning to Rally Poland. It was a rally I generally enjoyed in the past and one that has given me some good memories. It’s an extremely fast rally, even though the roads are not necessarily extremely wide, but there are also these soft and sandy places where the second pass conditions can create some surprises. Now going back there after seven years gives the feeling of a new rally, which is something I always like. There will be some big changes to the route, with not so many sections we used to do in the past, so it will be interesting. It’s true that I haven’t driven many fast rallies in recent seasons, but I feel good in the car at the moment and the target remains the same as in recent events: to fight for the win.” – replied Sebastien Ogier