Latvala determined to see off Tanak Toyota threat

Jari-Matti Latvala says he has nothing to fear from the arrival of Ott Tanak at the Toyota WRC team next season, but is determined to keep the Japanese squad centred around him.

Latvala arrived at Toyota late in 2016, affecting the immediate and significant change to turn the Yaris WRC into a challenger this season.

The Finn knows Tanak will pose a threat within the team, but he says it will take time for the Estonian to settle in after seven years with M-Sport.

“I have worked to make the Yaris my car and now Tanak will have to adapt to a new car," Latvala told Motorsport.com.

"I think it will be quite a good fight in the team, but I think we have a strong team for next year.

"I know that I want to be world champion and to be world champion I have to be quicker than everybody and that includes him.” 

Drawing on his experience, Latvala admitted moving from one team after a long period was not easy.

He added: “I remember when I came from being with M-Sport and Ford, I was there for quite many years and it was difficult to jump on the Volkswagen.

"But this change to Toyota was easy because I had the experience of moving.

"For Tanak the move from M-Sport to Toyota will be his first change and it can be a little difficult to adapt when you have been in one team for so long.

“When I went to Volkswagen I went with a little bit of the feeling that this was Sebastien Ogier’s team, he had been there from the beginning.

"If you are quicker [than your teammate] then it’s OK, but if not then you can stay a little bit in the shadows.”

Tanak admitted next year would be a step into the unknown for him.

“I need to get used to new people and a new team,” he said. “It will be a big job. As for how difficult will it be to move for the first time, I have no idea – I haven’t moved yet!”

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About this article
Series WRC
Drivers Jari-Matti Latvala , Ott Tanak
Teams Toyota Racing
Article type Breaking news