The present producers’ championship leaders had been soundly overwhelmed on Belgium’s WRC debut, as rival Hyundai ended its victory drought with a comfortable one-two headed by local hero Thierry Neuville.
Ypres’ distinctive quick and slender tarmac roads, lined with cuts and deep ditches, favoured these with earlier expertise of the rally as evidenced by 2018 and 2019 occasion winners Neuville and Craig Breen ending first and second.
Toyota struggled on the opening day of the rally with Elfyn Evans, Kalle Rovanpera and championship chief Sebastien Ogier some 40 plus seconds adrift of the main Hyundai pair.
The squad improved because the occasion progressed with Rovanpera clinching the ultimate spot on the rostrum forward of Evans and Ogier, who recorded his worst end since February’s Arctic Rally Finland.
Latvala praised his drivers for his or her efforts in unknown environment, however conceded a scarcity of expertise was pricey.
“I believe all of the drivers did a superb job this weekend, we simply couldn’t struggle for the victory as a result of we didn’t have the expertise right here,” mentioned Latvala.
“On Friday our guys needed to be taught concerning the floor and the grip ranges and as soon as they’d that have they might match the highest instances for the remainder of the rally, however by then it was a little bit too late.
“However we all know that we are able to’t win each rally and nonetheless we obtained essential factors for the championship this weekend.”
Sébastien Ogier, Julien Ingrassia, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota Yaris WRC
Photograph by: McKlein / Motorsport Images
Latvala singled out the efficiency of Rally Estonia winner Rovanpera, scoring a podium in his first tarmac occasion since crashing out on the opening day of April’s Rally Croatia.
“It was a very shut struggle between our drivers right now and ultimately it was Kalle who had nice tempo and will end on the rostrum,” he added.
“He did a robust rally, and that’s very nice to see in his first rally again on asphalt after the accident in Croatia.”
Rovanpera added: “I’m actually pleased with this end result. The 2 drivers in entrance had a number of expertise of this rally and you could possibly see within the instances on Friday that no one might match them.
“I believe that for us to have the ability to match the remaining with our lack of expertise and end on the rostrum is absolutely good.”
Though he completed fifth, Ogier managed to increase his WRC result in 38 factors, however is now dealing with a struggle from Evans and Neuville, who’re tied for second within the drivers’ standings.
Toyota’s lead over Hyundai within the producers’ battle has been diminished to 41 factors, with 4 occasions remaining.