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DMACK WRC team driver Ott Tanak has impressed everybody by his recent pace. Makinen;s main target is the Estonian driver. Tanak’s former M-Sport team-mate now WRC 2 championship leader Elfyn Evans is Makine’s next priority. Also Teemu Suninen and factory Skoda WRC 2 drivers Esapekka Lappi and Pontus Tidemand are also on Makinen’s list.
Speaking about this Makinen said, “I can tell you the names: there is Elfyn, there’s Ott Tanak, Esapekka Lappi, Teemu Suninen and the young comer is Pontus Tidemand. The plan is not decided yet, we will discuss it with Japan. The question for the drivers is how we see the world: are we looking to 2017 or are we looking to the future? This is the area we will discuss very carefully with Japan and make a decision together.”
Former Hyundai driver Juho Hanninen has been an integral part of Toyota in developing the new Yaris WRC. He is likely to be with the team. Makinen further added, “For learning and analysing every single rally, Juho would be good. He knows the car technically very well, he has done the whole test programme and that could help us be more ready for 2018.“
Mikko Hirvonen will be testing the Yaris WRC this week. Makinen also clarified that Hirvonen will not be competing in WRC, who is now focused on cross-country events. Toyota will be starting the season with two cars and then will be adding another mid-season. On asked about this he said, “The infrastructure is there to run a three-car team, but we know it’s pretty big work to build and run three cars from the start. I say it’s easier to start with two and bring the third car after a couple of rallies.” He also said that 2017 will be developing season for Toyota and their not expecting strong results. “The 2017 season is the year first to learn and analyse the rallies. I would like to say we would be ready to fight and to win in 2018. he target for next year? Of course we’d like to see the podium very soon.” said Makinen.
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