Jari-Matti Latvala equaled his best ever Monte Carlo result when he took second place on Sunday night and handed Toyota a podium finish in their comeback event.

Out of the World Rally Championship for 17 years the Japanese manufacturer returned to the top level of the sport this weekend in the treacherous conditions of Monte Carlo.

Latvala avoided drama in his Toyota Yaris and benefited as Ford's Ott Tanaka suffered mechanical issues on the final day to leapfrog the Estonian into second place.

"I am so happy with the result, although I am sorry for Ott Tanak, who was second before he had a problem," Latvala said.


"If you had told me before the start of the rally that this is where we would finish, I would never have believed it. In fact, this equals my best-ever result on this rally.

"The last stages were very difficult, like the whole rally was in fact, and my main priority was to look after the tyres. On the final stage there was some snow so it was hard to find the grip.

"It's been an amazing rally, and it's been fantastic to feel all the support of the fans in particular."

Latvala's teammate Juho Hanninen showed good pace early in the rally before he crashed on day 2.

Former world champion Tommi Makinen - the Toyota Gazoo World Rally Team principal - was delighted with the team's maiden performance.

"I'm very happy," he said. "This result goes a long way beyond our expectations, as this is really only a development year.

"We didn't have much experience but our rally was nearly perfect: both crews reacted very well to the changing circumstances and they were able to set stage times in the top three, which is very encouraging.

"Jari-Matti had a problem with a sensor during the rally, which was distracting him, and there was a worry that if he stopped the car in the stage he might not be able to restart. But how he coped with this was very impressive.

"A big thank you to the team for all the hard work so far. We still have a lot of work ahead but this is a good start."