Latvala appointed Toyota WRC team boss

Former World Rally Championship runner-up Jari-Matti Latvala has been appointed team principal of the Toyota Gazoo Racing squad, as the team confirmed its full 2021 line-up.

Latvala appointed Toyota WRC team boss
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With Tommi Makinen stepping down as team boss at the end of the 2020 season to become Toyota’s motorsport advisor, Latvala will move into the team principal role having been selected by Toyota president Akio Toyoda.

Latvala will "bring a driver’s perspective” to its management team of project director Yuichiro Haruna, sporting director Kaj Lindstrom, and technical director Tom Fowler.

Toyota also confirmed an unchanged driver primary line-up of seven-time WRC champion Sebastien Ogier, 2020 runner-up Elfyn Evans and rising star Kalle Rovanpera, while Takamoto Katsuta steps up to a full season in a fourth factory-entered Yaris WRC.

Last month, Ogier said he had delayed his WRC retirement plans to stick with Toyota for at least 2021.

Latvala, WRC runner-up in 2010, 2014 and 2015, joined Toyota in 2017 as one of its drivers on its return to the championship and produced a stunning start by finishing second in the Monte Carlo Rally opener and winning the second round in Sweden.

The 35-year-old Finn only stopped full-time WRC competition this year when he was shuffled out of Toyota's driver line-up but has acted as a team ambassador this year and is relishing his new role.

"I am really honoured to be taking on this position with the team, and by the trust that Akio Toyoda has shown in me," Latvala said. "I'm really excited to continue the work he started together with Tommi, having been a part of this team from the beginning as a driver."

"Now, as team principal, I have to see the bigger picture: I have to motivate everybody in the team to work together to achieve the best results. It's a new challenge and I'm up for it.

"Tommi has done a fantastic job with the team, building it up from zero and bringing the success that he has. There is always room for improvement and I want to use what I have learned over the years as a driver and work together with the team directors to make this team as successful as possible.

"The 2021 season is just around the corner but the entire package is already there within the team, with a proven car and the same strong driver line-up, and everybody knows what needs to be done to prepare for the Monte Carlo Rally in January."

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