Toyota WRC boss Tommi Makinen has admitted to considering rising rally star Esapekka Lappi as one of the team’s drivers for 2017.
Having failed to get a top driver such as Kris Meeke, who has instead signed a long-term deal with Citroen, Makinen wants to mix experience with young talent in his two-car line-up.
Lappi, 25, broke into the international rallying scene with Skoda Motorsport in 2013 and became the European champion a year later.
The Finn spent the previous season in WRC2 and was always a force to be reckoned with, having taken two victories in Poland and FInland as well as two second places on his way to fourth in the standings.
Lappi signed up for another season in the secondary championship with Skoda, starting his campaign in Rally Sweden.
However, he also took part in his maiden Rally Monte Carlo a week ago, and impressively ended up as the second non-WRC car in ninth place overall.
"Lappi is one of the most interesting young drivers on the rallying scene," said Makinen. "I would like to give him a drive in 2017."
Although Mikko Hirvonen has recently been brought on board by Toyota to spend the season developing the 2017 Yaris, the Japanese marque has yet to announce drivers for its competitive return.
Additional reporting by Giacomo Rauli