Toyota to ramp up WRC testing after Mexico engine and brake issues
|By David Evans||Wednesday, March 22nd 2017, 16:43 GMT|
Toyota will conduct a strenuous testing programme around the upcoming World Rally Championship rounds following the engine and brake issues that led to its Rally Mexico slump.
Jari-Matti Latvala led the WRC points after winning in Sweden and finishing runner-up in Monte Carlo, but was a distant sixth in Mexico earlier this month.
He believes Toyota's issues were largely specific to Mexico and that the scale of the testing programme will ensure the team is in better shape next month in Corsica anyway.
"We have four days of running before Corsica, then we have five days for Argentina and six days for Portugal," Latvala told Autosport.
"This level of testing is the very good thing with the programme.
"The brakes in Corsica will be asphalt-spec, so they should be much better and I'm confident we will have everything else sorted in time for Argentina.
"Don't forget, Mexico is probably the worst for overheating because of the temperatures and the altitude.
"I'm not concerned. The team did a lot of testing kilometres in Finland last year and in those conditions, overheating won't be a problem because it's cooler and the airflow is higher.
"It's no problem to make the car reliable in these conditions."
Toyota returned to the WRC this year with a new Tommi Makinen-run works programme after 17 seasons away.
Hanninen's opening stage victory in Mexico City aside, neither he nor Latvala finished in the top three on any stage of the season's first gravel rally in Mexico.
Ultimately classified sixth and seventh, both were over four minutes behind winner Kris Meeke's Citroen.
Latvala insisted much of the deficit was down to the team still learning about the new Yaris.
"There was some damage to the engine with the high temperatures on the first day, so we couldn't turn everything back up again - we were not running at the normal level, we couldn't maximise everything," he explained.
"The other thing is the brakes - we don't have enough.
"The pads were running too hot, there's not enough cooling on the car.
"If you look at the other [cars], you can see more brake cooling [vents]. This is [a lack of] experience from us."