Toy­ota win sig­nals a hard ght in 2017

Lat­vala re­turned the Ja­panese to the winner’s cir­cle, but there is much work ahead

Motor Sport News - - Have Your Say -

It hap­pened sooner than any­one would have thought, but Toy­ota’s re­turn to the top of the World Rally Cham­pi­onship with vic­tory in Swe­den was re­mark­able, and bodes very well for the rest of the sea­son.

Se­bastien Ogier showed on the sea­son-open­ing Monte that he is still the class of the field in terms of driv­ing tal­ent. As much as that was a shin­ing bea­con of a re­sult, Swe­den showed that he is go­ing to have to work harder than he has ever done be­fore to main­tain his po­si­tion as the man to beat in the ser­vice park.

Then there is Hyundai, too, or more specif­i­cally Thierry Neuville. He drew crit­i­cism from team boss Michel Nandan for shunt­ing out of a lead­ing po­si­tion for the sec­ond event in a row, but his pace be­fore that had left sev­eral peo­ple shak­ing their heads.

I have often said that if a team is dom­i­nat­ing, it should be ap­plauded for the good job it is do­ing rather than panned by fans for mak­ing the sport bor­ing. VW was the ul­ti­mate team for the last four sea­sons, but the Ger­mans’ vir­tual lock-out of the top step left the wider world bereft.

Now, with the Polo Rs gone, it is there for the rest to in­herit the man­tle. It looks for the mo­ment that it will be a real dog­fight as to who the next shin­ing star of the WRC will be in terms of man­u­fac­tur­ers. You can tweak the for­mat any way you want, all the fans want is a good, open com­pe­ti­tion. This year, it seems, they will be get­ting one. Matt James, Ed­i­tor (Twit­ter: @Mat­tjm­news)

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