One stage down, plenty more to go in Finland, among them two runs of the legendary Ouninpohja turbostage (it’s like The Stage, if you know what I mean) tomorrow. Sebastien Ogier is our early leader and no matter how insignificant these superspecials may feel compared to proper stages, they can make (or break) your rally because they’re – timed. They should never be underestimated because, eventually, seconds will count for the win once again. We had no incidents or accidents in top class so they’re all ready and eager for tomorrow’s marathon, consisting of 9 special stages in total.
Another very interesting topic appeared in the WRC news today, together with shakedown and superspecial results. Tommi Mäkinen was seen running from one appointment to the next and talking to reporters in the meantime, revealing more information about Toyota’s WRC plans. Former World Champ turned team principal is in flat out mode, mostly because the clock is ticking – before long it will be 2016 and we’ll be ready to see this new car in action. According to Mäkinen, his team will have to rebuild the car from scratch (if I understood some sources correctly), but of course he did not reveal what was wrong with the existing prototype, built by the TMG. Mäkinen also named some of the possible suppliers, Xtrac (transmission) and Bos (suspension), so chassis rebuild was maybe needed for new parts and tech solutions. Or they simply wanted to build a car fully in tune with new, 2017 rules.
The TMG will not be thrown out of the picture completely – they will be in charge of engine and aero development. For now, Mäkinen is still trying to come up with the most optimal location for this new team’s headquarters.
So, Toyota is coming, they will be pushing over the next couple of months in order to make up time, because Tommi would like to see the new Yaris WRC out on tests in March next year, which would give them, hopefully, enough time to bring it up to speed for the 2017 debut. Officially, no drivers were named, but there are many candidates, so we’ve heard good things about Mikko Hirvonen, Juho Hanninen, Esapekka Lappi… more about Tommi’s plans here.
But this is all distant future, for now. We have a rally on our hands. Go!