What did they say? Words from the WRC frontrunners after Rally Sweden


It was a great rally in Sweden even if the weather was a little too warm. What did the WRC front runners and class winners say? We find out.


Akio Toyoda (Team Chairman)

“We achieved our first victory of the season at the second round of the WRC: Rally Sweden. I would like to congratulate and appreciate Ott, Martin and the team for bringing this result. I also would like to appreciate all the fans and our partners for their support. Thank you very much. It was beyond my imagination when the team won here two years ago at the just second rally of our comeback. I still remember clearly the surprise and joy at that time. This year’s victory is different; we could fight for the victory from the beginning. Reviewing this year’s rally comparing to the joyful one two years ago and a very tough one last year, I can see how the team has grown. I thank Tommi for continuing to lead the team. I saw Esapekka Lappi and Janne Ferm with unfamiliar drivers’ suits on the podium. Of course, I felt sorry that Jari-Matti, Miikka, Kris and Seb missed the podium. But at the same time, I felt a bit glad that they were there. It is not only because I see their smiles, but also because I felt that we were facing strong rivals. I believe Tommi and all the team members strongly feel as I do that all the drivers and co-drivers are on the podium. And this gives big power to TOYOTA GAZOO Racing to move forward. The season has just started. In the rest of the season, over 12 rounds, we will have tight battles with our strong rivals. This will make WRC more exciting and will help us make ever-better cars. Thank you in advance for your continuous support.”

Tommi Mäkinen (Team Principal)

“It is brilliant to get a win here in the second round of the season and to be leading both championships. Ott has dominated the whole weekend, showing everyone how to drive in the difficult conditions. He is really strong at the moment. When I look at him right now, I see myself over 20 years ago when I was focusing on winning the title. Of course, it has been a more difficult weekend for Kris and for Jari-Matti, but they too have shown the speed of our car, and it is reliable too.”

Ott Tänak (1st)

“We have had a very good weekend. Friday was a key moment where we had to get through to minimise the time loss in the conditions, but after this we just drove with a good rhythm and as little risk as possible. Today it was about saving the tyres for the Power Stage and to give it a big push. We had a very good run and everything was working really well, so I was really comfortable in the car. We have a very strong team and it’s great for us to have this kind of result at the beginning of the season.”

Jari-Matti Latvala (21st)

“The first stage this morning was the best stage of the rally: nice, clean ice conditions with big snowbanks, and a fast, flowing road over the crests. It was really enjoyable to drive and nice to be back in a good rhythm. I hoped to get some points on the Power Stage and finish the rally on a high note, but the conditions there for me were very difficult, especially the last part where there was lots of snow and slush. Now we look forward to Mexico.”

Kris Meeke (6th)

“The conditions this morning were very nice with full ice: just what we really like to drive on. My objective today was to try and finish in front of Sebastien Loeb and we managed to increase the gap, so I’m happy with that. On the Power Stage I had a big impact on the front-left and I struggled after that. The mild temperatures this weekend have been so different to my pre-event test and I’ve lacked some speed as a result. But it’s good to get to the end and score some points for the team.”


Sébastien Ogier (29th)

“Obviously, I had hoped for a better result, but it’s always difficult to do well when you open the road here. A lot of the crews hit the snow banks, including us. We were also a bit unlucky in that we got stuck in one of the rare spots where there were no spectators. We did our very best on the Power Stage, even though once again the conditions were far from ideal for us. I’m already focused on Mexico.“

Esapekka Lappi (2nd)

“I knew after testing that we had worked well and that was confirmed during this rally, which I really enjoy. The conditions this weekend were nonetheless quite a bit different so we gradually worked on improving the set-up of our C3 WRC, which helped us to feel increasingly confident in the car and to up our pace as we completed more of the stages. I’m delighted with this result. It kick starts our season and augurs really well for the rest of the year!”


Thierry Neuville (3rd)

“We are pleased to be on the podium again; we couldn’t have done any more here at Rally Sweden. It was a big battle in these tricky conditions and we were on the edge for a lot of it. When you are pushing so hard, it is easy to make mistakes, so we have to be content with our third place – as well as taking four extra points for second in the Power Stage. We are still at the start of a long season with lots more to come, so it is important to get as many points in the bag in these opening rounds. As a team, we are all focused on pushing for more performance, and we will continue to work in this direction as we prepare for Mexico.” 

Andreas Mikkelsen (4th)

“We gave it all we could this weekend, and it was an exciting right to the end. Of course, we would have preferred to finish on the podium but congratulations to Thierry for his result. It is a pretty good team result for here; third and fourth gives us important points, but we know it could have been better. In conditions like we have faced, it is a high-risk strategy to push too hard. Today, we wanted to maintain a good pace but not do anything crazy to jeopardise our position. As a team, we have all three cars at the end of the rally and we can take a lot of lessons forward into future events. Thanks to all the fans for showing us such great support this weekend.”

Sébastien Loeb/Daniel Elena (7th)

“It has been a complicated weekend, with a lot of ups and downs. I am happy to have made it to the end of the rally. We have set some good times during the event and we have been able to learn a lot more about the Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC, which is very useful for the future. In the end, looking at these positives, it has been a satisfactory weekend but with room for further improvement.”


Elfyn Evans (5th) 

“We’ve had very good speed for the most part of this weekend. I would say that we can be happy with 75 percent of the stages we did, but I’m just kicking myself about the other 25 percent which didn’t go quite as well as they should have. 
“We had the potential to be on the podium so we are left with a little bit of frustration, but there are still a lot of positives. We’ve made a massive step with the car compared to last year and we already know that we’re competitive on gravel so I’m really looking forward to the upcoming events.”

Pontus Tidemand (8th) 

“It’s a dream to compete here on my home event with a world rally car. It has been amazing and I want to thank all of the fans and supporters and of course my sponsors as well as the whole M-Sport team and Ola who have done a fantastic job all weekend.
“It was a shame to have had the issues on Friday but these things happen and I have been improving a lot. I’m starting to feel quite comfortable with the aerodynamics and everything and I only wish this event could have been longer!
“I still need some time with this incredible car, and I really hope that we have an opportunity to do some more later in the year.”

Teemu Suninen 

“We had really good pace this weekend, and that gives me a lot of confidence. But there were a couple of mistakes and that means that we come away from this rally with no points. 
“I have to work hard for the next event, but I still think there have been a lot of positives this weekend. I led a rally for the first time, and the car felt really good. A big thanks to the team who have been working really hard, and hopefully we can do better in Mexico.”


Mads Ostberg – winner WRC2-PRO

 “From the beginning to the end of the weekend we focussed on the category’s leadership. Our ambition now is to further build on the car’s performance, but it’s a long championship and there are loads of opportunities to make the Citroën C3 R5 even more competitive.”

Ole-Christian Veiby – winner WRC2

“This is almost like a dream come true! It’s so incredibly delicious! I’ve been following Rally Sweden since I was a little boy, and have dreamed of one day standing on top of the victory pod! We have performed well all weekend, and it was a fight almost all the way to the last test. We’ve been fastest on 8 of the race stages during the weekend, and it feels extra good with victory when you really have to fight for it!
After a little boring start on Rally Sweden on Thursday night, where they had to run the first test with the car in safe mode and without rally speed, it quickly got up. Already on Friday morning, the young boy from Kongsvinger had taken the lead in the WRC2 class, and kept that management the rest of the race.”


Tom Kristensson – winner JWRC

“I think we have shown the pace and I am extremely happy about my confidence in myself; I had a plan and I stuck to it. It feels really good and I think it will be a great season. The biggest point for me was not to make any mistakes I think the most important thing was to find the right pace and remain calm. We have enjoyed the rally and of course there were some moments there’s no question about that but in the end it feels great. I’m really looking forward to the rest of the season as I feel I’m really progressing with the car”