Safari Rally – Jari-Matti Latvala: “Kalle demonstrated his ability to read the difficulties of the terrain”

The senior director of Toyota was divided between joy and relief to see his team win for the first time in 2024 thanks to the mastery of its reigning champion, Kalle Rovanperä, in Kenya.

Published on 03/04/2024 à 10:45

Loïc ROCCI

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Safari Rally – Jari-Matti Latvala: “Kalle demonstrated his ability to read the difficulties of the terrain”

© Nikos Katikis / DPPI

What is your feeling at the end of this rally ?

We knew it would be impossible to do as well as the two previous editions where we had obtained quadruplets. Our desire, however, was to maintain our invincibility on this ground. By signing a double, we can be satisfied with our weekend. Our three drivers scored points, Elfyn Evans remains in contact with Thierry Neuville and we take the lead among the Manufacturers. I can hardly be unhappy with this first victory of the season.

By remaining undefeated for the 4the times here, you demonstrate that the Yaris has astonishing reliability...

This is an aspect that we have placed a lot of emphasis on in recent years and it is paying off. We have not experienced any major alerts and our three crews have never been slowed down by a technical problem. Some punctures still came to annoy us, notably Elfyn. I like that we are still undefeated here because Kenya is an important market for Toyota.

How do you explain the dominance of Kalle Rovanperä and Jonne Halttunen?

First of all, I think they were able to approach the event in the best possible way. I would say that Kalle created his own success by managing to live for three days without experiencing a puncture. He demonstrated his ability to read the difficulties of the terrain. When it was too rough, Kalle didn't hesitate to be careful and save the car, then he attacked very hard when it was smoother.

Your other two pilots didn't do too badly either!

I'm really happy with Takamoto's result. After his misadventure in Sweden (accident while competing in 1re place in Lappi. Editor's note), he needed it, because he was very disappointed. He could have gone for the win here, but he pushed a little too much and it caused a puncture. As for Elfyn, I consider that he had the necessary speed, but it did not want to smile. He was unlucky to have to change a wheel. When this happens to you, you then try to make up for the lost time, but very often this is the best way to run into another problem. He scored some important points in the championship.

Comments collected by L. Rocci

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Loïc ROCCI

Journalist specializing in rallying past, present and future... and with a southern accent

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