Published on February 4th, 2017 | by Subhash Nair0
Toyota Gazoo Racing’s Winter Warriors Set for Snow and Ice Action in Sweden
Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team and its drivers, Jari-Matti Latvala and Juho Hänninen, are set to take on the high-speed snowy and icy stages of Rally Sweden from February 9 to 12. The team now aims to consolidate its 2017 learning programme and build on its return to FIA World Rally Championship action on Rallye Monte-Carlo last month, where Latvala and his co-driver Miikka Anttilla guided their Toyota Yaris WRC to an unexpected second place. With Toyota’s commitment to the WRC for the long term, car development and team progression remain the priority this season as opposed to rapid stage performances.
Rally Sweden has been a winter event since it became a founding round of the world championship in 1973. And snow and ice are key to creating the spectacle. Metal studs inserted into the tyres punch through the ice to find grip, while drivers use the snow banks to stay on the road by ‘leaning’ through the corners: provided there is enough snow to do it.
In keeping with Rally Sweden tradition, a super special stage in Karlstad opens the action on Thursday (February 9). The bulk of Friday’s competition is based across the border in Norway with the Röjden stage actually running between both countries. Crews will demonstrate their jumping prowess on Saturday when they attempt the famous Colin’s Crest on the Vargåsen stage as the rally returns to Sweden for the final two days. The event concludes with the Torsby Power Stage from 12:18 CET on Sunday ahead of the ceremonial finish at the town’s airport, which doubles as the service park for the event. Almost 60 percent of the competitive route is new for this year with 331.74 stage kilometres.
Tommi Mäkinen and Latvala are triple winners of the rally, while Toyota also has three Rally Sweden victories to its name from the past. Latvala and Hänninen prepared for Rally Sweden with a total of 5 days of testing in Central Finland.