Juho Hanninen completed the final six stages of the Rally de Espana without issues to claim a fourth place finish for TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team on the mixed-surface event. On a rally he has not competed on for six years, Hanninen impressed with his speed after the switch from gravel to asphalt at the start of Saturday morning, when he took two stage wins to demonstrate the speed of the Yaris WRC on asphalt.
The final day featured two loops of three stages, without a service break in-between. Hanninen posted two top-three stage times during the opening loop, and he finished the rally with fifth place on the Power Stage to claim an additional point. Esapekka Lappi began the day in sixth position but was forced to retire after he hit a barrier on the second stage of the morning. Jari-Matti Latvala retired from the rally on Friday after a heavy impact damaged the lubrication system and caused him to stop.
Tommi Makinen (Team principal)
“I am really pleased with this result for Juho. It was difficult for all three guys on Friday but the performance of the car on asphalt was fantastic, and Juho has driven really, really well. It was brilliant to see the results of the hard work that the team has put in. It was unfortunate what happened to Esapekka this morning, but I’m sure he has learnt a lot this weekend. I’m also sad that Jari-Matti’s rally ended so early, but the potential looks good for the future.”
Juho Hanninen (Driver car 11)
“I’m very happy with this result. Yesterday and today have been two of the most enjoyable days of rallying I’ve ever had. Yesterday was really good and today I tried to keep it quite steady because there was a big gap behind. On asphalt we have had a really, really good car. I have felt really confident with it and I haven’t had to take any big risks. It’s really important for me to see that I am able to fight for the leading positions even though I haven’t been here for a long time.”
Esapekka Lappi (Driver car 12)
“I am annoyed with my mistake today which prevented us from finishing the rally. There was a change in the road surface and it was more slippery than I expected. I didn’t think it would make that much difference to the grip but it did. It is something that I will try to learn for the future. It has been a frustrating rally for me but I have gained some good experience driving this car on this event and the speed on Saturday was not so bad in the afternoon. The car felt really good on asphalt too, so there are some positives to take for sure.”