Timo Jouhki knows the patterns of the rally world like his own pockets.
Still, he, like many others, was surprised by the appointment of Jari-Matti Latvala as Toyota's new team manager.
He will replace Tommi Mäkinen in the position.
For years, Jouhki worked as a manager for Latvalank and once helped him for Toyota.
For Latvala’s fresh wash, he didn’t have his keys in the game.
- I was surprised by this situation.
I mean, if this had happened in a couple of years, it would have been more to be expected.
There were certainly some options, but Jari-Matti knows the backgrounds and other things of the team well.
Of course, this is not so surprising, Jouhki tells Ilta-Sanomat.
Latvala was left without a factory garage space last season.
He competed in the Swedish World Rally Championship earlier this season with a WRC car he rented from Toyota.
Although Latvala's number of races remained low in the corona year, there were still very few signs in the air that he was making such a tough class move - at least not yet.
- This year, Jari-Matti has run his own company and done all other things.
It must have dawned on him that he may no longer be driving, at least not seriously.
Not in a way that would keep the career going.
As Toyota's stable boss, Latvala takes great responsibility for a million-dollar operation where the pressures are severe.
Toyota won the brand championship 2018 and the driver championship 2019 and 2020. Similar success is certainly expected in the future.
Although expectations are high, Jouhki believes that Latvala is well equipped to run a large operation.
- Part of the million-dollar business is that there is an administrative organization and a financial organization that run the business side.
Engineers play a certain role in the development of the car and in running the cars in the stable, as do the mechanics.
As a driver, Jari-Matti understands the whole, and what is involved.
If I look insensently, then he is one of the smartest and most educated for this task, Jouhki praises.
Mäkinen (left) and Latvala discuss in the Jyväskylä World Rally Championship 2018. Photo: Petteri Kivimäki / HS
Jouhki also sees Latvali as one of the advantages of being an entrepreneur.
His father runs the Latvala Group, which specializes in the import of earthmoving machinery.
The new team manager's own company is the logistics company Latvala Logistics Oy.
The family companies also include Töysä Machine Import Oy and Latvala Motorsport Oy.
So right from the vertical forest, he doesn’t jump to the bow spot in a big money organization.
Personnel relationships often play a major role in recruitment, and Akio Toyoda, Toyota's CEO, made it clear that good mutual understanding with Latvala played a big role even now.
According to Toyoda, the Finn's genuine love for cars and uncompromising attitude convinced him that Latvala was the right person for the job.
- They did the same thing with Tom.
Toyoda seems to be the kind of leader who observes people and is a good human expert.
He leads a big organization and has a lot to do with people.
He does not pull these choices out of nowhere.
- He must have had his own feeling that this is the right and good thing.
That's the way it has to be.
There was a long collaboration with Tom in the background and the same now with Jari-Mati.