Toyota Gazoo Racing team principal Tommi Mäkinen plans to keep out of the fight for this year’s FIA World Rally Championship drivers’ title.
The Finn, a four-time champion himself, is well-known for his dislike of team orders and he’s keen to keep it that way in his final months in charge of the team before Toyota takes full control next season.
Separated by 18 points, team drivers Elfyn Evans and Sébastien Ogier are first and second in the standings ahead of this week’s Rally Italia Sardegna (8 – 11 October), with team-mate Kalle Rovanperä 27 points down in joint third with Hyundai Motorsport’s Ott Tänak.
The difficulty for Mäkinen is that Toyota’s advantage against defending world champion manufacturer Hyundai is just nine points, and a repeat of the 2018 makes’ race win he achieved is priority number one for the Japanese automotive company.
Asked about his plans to direct drivers this week, Mäkinen said: “Most probably in Sardinia there’s no possibility. Elfyn has the worst place to start and the second worst is Séb and you never know what can happen.
“The most important for us is the manufacturer title. Of course, we cannot risk having cars fighting and then something happens – we have to keep looking.”