The 29-year-old impressed on his debut in a rally car when he stepped aboard a Ford Fiesta WRC and finished fifth in January’s Arctic Rally.

Having driven M-Sport Ford World Rally Team’s car, Bottas fancied a taste of something more local, so contacted fellow Finn and Toyota Gazoo Racing boss Tommi Mäkinen to ask if it would be possible to test the Yaris.

Once Toyota regulars Ott Tänak, Kris Meeke and Jari-Matti Latvala were done with their Neste Rally Finland preparations, Bottas was given the all-clear to drive the car for a day.

He tested on roads close to Jyväskylä, near the team base. TGR sporting director Kaj Lindström joked there would be no late entry fourth car for this year’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix winner.

“There is no contract,” said Lindström. “He was happy in the Arctic Rally, but we have the best car and he wanted to try it. The test with Valtteri was planned and he just drove the test car after the other guys at a road close to Jyväskylä.”

Like the Arctic Rally, Bottas was co-driven by Timo Rautiainen, who won two world championship titles alongside Marcus Grönholm.

Bottas (right) and co-driver Rautiainen are pictured with Toyota Gazoo Racing boss Mäkinen.


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