Toyota will debut its new engine replace at this weekend’s Rally Estonia after the reigning world champions elected to make use of one in all its homologation jokers to make the change.
It has been extensively thought-about that Hyundai has held a high finish pace benefit over Toyota because the introduction of the Rally1 rules final 12 months.
The deficit between the groups was at its most distinguished in excessive pace rallies, in Estonia and Finland, which has prompted Toyota’s engineering division to give attention to bettering the GR Yaris’ energy unit.
“To start with, it was fairly clear final 12 months that the quicker rallies have been little bit tough for our drivers to maintain with the likes of Ott within the Hyundai,” Toyota technical director Tom Fowler advised Autosport.
“There was a giant battle between Kalle and Ott in Estonia and once more in Finland with the 2 scoring one win every however the improper manner spherical by way of their nationalities. We felt like we should always have performed higher from the automotive facet to assist Kalle.
“It [the update] is pure efficiency and naturally we all the time test the reliability of something we’re going to do and ensure it’s the identical stage because the outgoing tools. The intention of this work has been to search out efficiency in excessive pace rallies.”
Latvala is hopeful the most recent replace will shut the hole to Hyundai within the outright pace division.
“I believe when you look typically the Hyundai has been very robust with its engine,” Latvala advised Autosport.
“I don’t assume we’re extra highly effective than the others however hopefully we’re on the identical stage as Hyundai now. They’ve been very robust and I can’t say precisely the variations, however we needs to be the identical now.”
Elfyn Evans, Scott Martin, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota GR Yaris Rally1
Photograph by: Toyota Racing
Toyota drivers Kalle Rovanpera and Elfyn Evans are grateful for the replace even when it solely gives a small enchancment.
“There are refined variations,” stated Evans. “It’s all the time tough to do sufficient of a distinction, when you could have this stage of energy, to make a change which you could really feel the large distinction. However in fact it’s all the time welcomed to get the fruits of the labour of the engineers and it’s a welcomed improve. Each little helps.”
Rovanpera added: “The engine feels good in fact however it’s by no means very easy to really feel the small variations. However undoubtedly the blokes have discovered some efficiency.”
Hyundai boss Cyril Abiteboul isn’t overly involved by Toyota’s newest engine improvement because it appears to shut the hole to the Japanese model within the constructors’ title race.
“Sure, any enchancment is a priority however I believe from an engine perspective we’re effectively positioned,” stated Abiteboul.
“We often have a high pace benefit with the gear ratios we use, our fifth gear is a bit longer. I believe we nonetheless have an excellent engine and there’s additionally some exploratory work on our facet to answer something new we are going to see.
“I don’t assume it would make an excessive amount of a of huge distinction right here.”