Makinen wants mileage from Toyota’s return to the top flight
Toyota team principal Tommi Makinen wants one of his two Yaris WRCS to finish this week’s Monte Carlo Rally less than 60 seconds behind the winner.
As the start of the season closes in, Makinen’s expectations from 2017 have grown more and more realistic than his talk of winning rallies in the first year of Toyota’s world rally return.
Makinen, who has won the Monte four times himself, said: “Our target is to get good mileage from this rally, so I will be happy if we have both cars at the finish and arrive in the same minute as the leaders. That would be a fantastic way to continue our development, which is always an ongoing process.”
Toyota starts the season running two cars, one for Jari-matti Latvala and one for fellow Finn Juho Hanninen – but Makinen admitted he didn’t expect this week’s season opener to reveal much about the hierarchy for 2017.
Makinen said: “The most important thing is to go to Monte Carlo with a relaxed and open attitude. It depends so much on the conditions there and everything can change in a split second. It’s hard for me to say at the moment where we really are in terms of performance and it’s unlikely that Monte Carlo will give us any definite answers either, as it is such a different rally to everywhere else.”
Despite Makinen’s efforts to limit expectation, team chairman and Toyota Motor Corporation president Akio Toyoda was keen to point out the need for success.
“We hate to lose,” he said, “and we don’t plan to lose. However, this isn’t a rally that can be won easily.”
Makinen wants finishes