The Toyota Yaris WRC is back in asphalt action this week on Rally Germany, the 10th round of the 2019 FIA World Rally Championship. Ott Tänak has the chance to make it three wins on the event in as many years as he seeks to extend his 22-point lead in the drivers’ championship.
“Germany is obviously a rally that I like a lot,” said Tänak. “Martin (co-driver Martin Järveoja) and I have won there two years in a row and our target this year is definitely to make it three. It’s certainly not an easy event, it’s a big challenge for a driver to have so many different types of road in one rally, and to try to be fast on all of them and not make any mistakes. We know that the weather is often a big factor as well, it can be very hard to predict.”
The rally, running from this Thursday to Sunday (22 to 25 August), features three very different driving environments: twisting roads through the vineyards of the Mosel valley; the daunting Baumholder military training area, with numerous changes in surface quality; and narrow country lanes around the service park at the Bostalsee lake in the Saarland region.
The action will begin from the service park on Thursday evening with an opening stage on nearby roads that the team will have practised on during a shakedown earlier in the day. Friday’s leg is unchanged from last year, with two loops of two vineyard stages and the Wadern-Weiskirchen road circuit. There is a new format for Saturday, beginning with two rural road stages, each run twice in the morning, followed by two loops around Baumholder, including the famous 26-mile Panzerplatte, separated by an additional 15-minute service. Two repeated stages back in the vineyards complete the rally on Sunday.
The Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team line-up will feature the regular pairings of Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila and Kris Meeke and Seb Marshall. Ulsterman Meeke said: “I’m really looking forward to competing on asphalt again. I’ve had a great feeling with the Yaris WRC so far on asphalt and I hope that we can find that again in Germany. It’s a rally where I’ve been competitive in the past and I really hope that we can secure a good result for the time.”