Toyota takes first WRC victory in 18 years
Stockholm – Finland's Jari-Matti Latvala swept to a stunning victory in Rally Sweden, winning the final three stages on Sunday in his Toyota Yaris to claim his fourth victory in the race and give newly-re-entered Toyota its first WRC win since 1999.
The win also saw Latvala climb to the top of the World Championship rankings after just two events. The 31-year-old held off the strong challenge of Estonia's Ott Tanak, in a new-generation Ford Fiesta, who threw everything he could into the last day, but with Latvala enjoying a 20-second lead going into the final stage it would have taken a major mistake for the Finn to lose.
"I am so, so happy. For a new team and new car to win its second rally: I really have no words," an elated Latvala said after his 17th career win. "Now we are super-motivated to continue like this: I just can't wait to get to Mexico (the next round)."
Team chairman Akio Toyoda said he had been looking forward to a victory, but never imagined it would happen so soon.
Sebastien Ogier (Ford Fiesta), who won the first race of the year in Monte Carlo in January, recovered from a costly spin and stall on the first corner of Sunday's first stage to grab third place ahead of Daniel Sordo (Hyundai i20) and Craig Breen (Citroen).
DRIVER STANDINGS - TOP 5
1. Jari-Matti Latvala (Finland) Toyota Gazoo Racing - 48
2. Sebastien Ogier (France) M-Sport World Rally Team - 44
3. Ott Taenak (Estonia) M-Sport World Rally Team - 33
4. Daniel Sordo (Spain) Hyundai Motorsport - 25
5. Craig Breen (Ireland) Citroen Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team - 20Reuters