TOMMI MÄKINEN IS CONFIDENT THE OVERHEATING PROBLEMS THAT DOGGED TOYOTA GAZOO RACING AT RALLY GUANAJUATO MEXICO IN 2017 AND 2018 WON’T BE AN ISSUE DURING THIS YEAR’S EVENT (7-10 MARCH).Featuring stage altitudes of up to 2,700 metres and scorching summer temperatures, the championship’s upcoming Mexican round is one of the toughest on the calendar.
Since Toyota rejoined the WRC in 2017, its Yaris World Rally Cars have experienced issues there managing engine and brake temperatures.
In 2017, Jari-Matti Latvala lost the championship lead when heat-related engine damage and overheating brakes left him a distant sixth. Despite cooling and engine improvements, including testing on an altitude dyno in Japan, overheating continued to be an issue in 2018.
This year, buoyed by victory for lead driver Ott Tänak in Sweden and a positive pre-event test in southern Spain, Mäkinen predicts a cooler run on the Mexican gravel stages.
“We have worked very hard with the cooling package in particular. Our pre-event testing in Spain last week went well and we’re feeling ready,” he said.
“It is always a tough event for the teams because of the altitude and the high temperatures, but over the past year we have done a lot of work to make our car more reliable in these conditions, while also improving the performance.
“After our brilliant win in Sweden, the team is feeling very confident that we can also have a good rally in Mexico.”
Toyota heads to Mexico in the lead of the manufacturers’ title race, while Tänak tops the drivers’ standings for the first time. Team-mates Latvala and Kris Meeke are both past winners of the event.