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Tommi Makinen returns to WRC

By Scott Newman, 09 Jul 2015 News

Finnish legend to lead new Toyota team

Tommi Makinen returns to WRC

Toyota has announced four-time World Rally Champion Tommi Makinen as team principal ahead of its return to the WRC in 2017.

Bizarrely, in making the announcement Toyota president and CEO, Akio Toyoda, made no mention of Toyota Motorsport GmbH (TMG), the company's official European motorsport which has been regularly testing a Yaris built in the spirit of the current WRC regulations.

Currently, it is believed that despite carrying out extensive development work, TMG will have little role to play in the new operation, despite being the home of Toyota's considerable rally success throughout the 1970s, '80s and '90s.

Makinen has run his own rallying team since his retirement from the WRC in 2003, but his relationship with Toyota began in 2013, when he was employed to provide driving tuition to CEO Toyoda.

This led to the Finnish legend creating a one-off all-wheel drive, turbocharged Toyota 86 which Makinen demonstrated at last year's Rally Finland. However, it is believed that Toyota will use a Yaris due to its compatibility with the current regulations.

And the video above? Oh, that has nothing to do with Toyota, but it's a great reminder of why Makinen is regarded as one of the greatest drivers ever to sit in a rally car.

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