Akio's 4 Days Standing in as Team Principal--Backstage at Rally Finland


With Team Principal Latvala in the driver's seat, Chairman Akio Toyoda suddenly found himself leading the team. A behind-the-scenes look at four days of fierce competition.

Round 9 of the WRC, Rally Finland, set the competition against a backdrop of stunning forests, lakes, and cityscapes.

The TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team (TGR-WRT), based in the Finnish city of Jyväskylä, notched up a brilliant performance on its “home turf,” with Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin taking the win and Takamoto Katsuta/Aaron Johnston finishing third overall.

One of the round’s big stories was Team Principal Jari-Matti Latvala’s return to driving duties. Though a one-off, it marked Latvala’s first time in competition since the 2020 Rally Sweden. The fact that he was racing on home soil only heightened media and fan excitement.

And making his debut as the alternate team principal in Latvala’s place was TGR-WRT Chairman Akio Toyoda. He had encouraged the legendary driver—who has won 18 WRC events and in 2017 claimed Toyota’s first championship in 18 years—to make his comeback.

Often behind the wheel himself as Morizo, Akio understands the mindset of a driver. He shared his true intentions in backing Latvala’s bid and his thoughts on serving as the alternate team principal (around 30:34).

Other highlights include alternate Team Principal Toyoda sharing the magic of Rally Finland, engineers fighting to save a dire situation, and a new commitment between the City of Jyväskylä, TGR-WRT, and the Toyota Mobility Foundation.

In the video, Akio can be seen putting smiles on the faces of staff and drivers alike with his encouraging words, perhaps offering a preview of what to expect at Rally Japan in less than a month (November 16-19, Aichi/Gifu).

TOYOTA GAZOO Racing’s website also features comments from alternate Team Principal Toyoda and Latvala after their four days of competition. Make sure to check it out here.