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TOYOTA GAZOO RACING WORLD RALLY TEAM

PIAA is an official Partner of the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WRT


2021 WRC Calendar - See www.wrc.com
1 Rallye Monte-Carlo 21 - 24 January
2 Artic Rally Finland 26 - 28 February
3 Croatia Rally 22 - 25 April
4. Rally Portugal 20 -23 May
5. Rally Italia Sardinia 3 - 6 June
6. Rally Kenya 24 - 27 June
7. Rally Estonia 15 - 18 July
8. Rally Ypres Belgium 13 - 15 August
9. Rally Greece 9 - 12 September
10 Rally Finland 30 Sept - 2 October
11. Rally Spain 14 - 17 October
12. Rally Monza 19 - 21 November

 

PRESS RELEASE: 21 November 2021

Ogier, Ingrassia and TOYOTA GAZOO Racing crowned 2021 champions

The TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team has acheived a magnificent championship treble* at the iconic Monza circuit, clinching the manufacturers’ title with a one-two finish at the final round as Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia claimed their eighth drivers’ and co-drivers’ crowns in style with victory.

Ogier and Ingrassia went up against their team-mates Elfyn Evans and Scott Martin in the final-round showdown at Monza and the two crews engaged in an epic battle for victory throughout the weekend, swapping the lead between them six times. They came into the final day of three tricky stages around Monza separated by just half a second – and then set identical times on the morning’s opening test. A stall for Evans in the penultimate stage ultimately decided the rally victory in the favour of Ogier, who knew a podium finish would be enough to secure the title.

The win was the fifth of the season for Ogier and Ingrassia after victories in Monte Carlo, Croatia, Sardinia and Kenya. It was their 54th WRC win together in what was the final event of their full-time careers: Ogier will contest a part-time schedule with TOYOTA GAZOO Racing in 2022 while Ingrassia steps out of the co-driver’s seat after a highly-successful career.

Evans and Martin secured the fifth Toyota one-two of the season, and finish runner-up in the championship for the second year in a row after victories in Portugal and Finland.

Alongside their team-mates, Kalle Rovanperä and his co-driver Jonne Halttunen were key to the manufacturers’ championship success after claiming their first career victories in Estonia and Greece this year. At the final round they were exemplary team players, focusing on a clean finish in ninth overall to ensure the manufacturers’ title was secured.

This is the fifth time Toyota has won the manufacturers’ championship – putting it joint third on the all-time list of titles – and the second since it returned to the sport in 2017 with the Yaris WRC. This was the 26th and final victory achieved by the car in the final event of the World Rally Car era before hybrid-powered Rally1 cars are introduced in 2022.

TGR WRC Challenge Program driver Takamoto Katsuta finished seventh overall with co-driver Aaron Johnston, overcoming contact in the penultimate test to set the second-fastest time in the rally-ending Power Stage after a superb job by the team’s mechanics to repair his car in just a 15-minute service.

Quotes:
Akio Toyoda (Team Founder)
“Throughout the season, there was always at least one of our crews on the podium – including Takamoto. Thanks to them, I was able to watch all the events being thrilled expecting that somebody from our team would win. Then in this final event, Seb and Julien, who were targeting their eighth title, and Elfyn and Scott, who still had a chance to win their first, had the ultimate battle until the very end. As a big rally fan, I felt so excited watching them. ‘Our Yaris WRCs are running in such an exciting situation at the highest level of competition...’ It was like a dream for us at Toyota. I would like to thank both crews from the heart for making us feel like that.

Seb and Julien, congratulations! I truly respect you for driving to the maximum until the end. To be eight-time champions is a great record, and we are all proud that two out of those eight were with Toyota. Thank you so much. To secure the manufacturers’ title and have Seb and Elfyn freely fight at the same time: all team members tackled this final event together to achieve both. Kalle’s driving throughout the event showed it well. Kalle, Jonne, thank you very much for what you have done for the team.

It’s thanks to Jari-Matti that the team was able to smile. Jari-Matti, who was also a driver, is a leader who always puts drivers first. I think all the drivers were able to finish the season with smiles because all the judgements were made from a driver’s point of view. He hates to lose. He does as much as I do, or maybe more than I do. I believe his judgements based on this ‘hate-to-lose’ mindset made the team strong.

There was one more way in which Jari-Matti surprised me. That was his thorough communication with the team members. Through a video taken by the team, I saw him giving morning greetings one-by-one at the early morning service park. All 200 members across Finland, Estonia, Germany and Japan were closely united because we had him. I really appreciate him for realising the ‘driver-driven team’ and ‘family-like yet professional team’ which we had been aiming for.

This team kept making the Yaris WRC stronger since 2017. What I asked for at the first rally in 2017 was to make the Yaris WRC the strongest at the end of the season. The Yaris WRC has run 59 events in these five years, and we learned a lot from the events we won and we lost. The team did make the last Yaris WRC the strongest ever. I’m really happy for that.

Our car will be totally new under new regulations next year and the development is reaching its climax. The team is extremely busy and I’m grateful to everybody and their families who support them. We will prepare an ever-stronger Yaris and make our fans even more excited from next season onward. I hope the fans will look forward to our new car and new challenges and I appreciate your continuous support for TGR WRT.”

Jari-Matti Latvala (Team Principal)
“We have been working so hard to claim the manufacturers’ championship and the drivers’ and co-drivers’ championships all at the same time. I am so grateful for the team: We have such a fantastic team with great people and the best drivers in the championship. I’m really proud of all the team members and the crews. What Seb and Julien have achieved in their careers is incredible. Elfyn and Scott did fantastically well to make it an exciting battle, and a huge thank you to Kalle and Jonne for the role they played as well. In 2018 I won the manufacturers’ title as a driver, and to do it again now as a team principal is a unique moment. This is also a brilliant way to finish this era with these cars, and to have won nine rallies this year is amazing.”

Sébastien Ogier (Driver car 1)
“It’s so hard to describe these kind of emotions. Somehow you feel empty because it’s been such an exhausting season like always, where you need to put so much into it to win the championship. But we do it for moments like this. A big thanks to all the team members: Without them we are nothing and today we are all world champions, so let’s celebrate this. It’s pretty remarkable what Toyota has achieved, and the team deserves it because they’ve put a lot of effort into it. The emotion is even stronger knowing it’s the end of my journey with Julien. We could never have dreamed of a better way for it to end it. We knew we still had a lot to do this weekend and that it was not over yet. We didn’t have to beat Elfyn, but we couldn’t afford to relax and then drop positions, and to win in the end is just perfect.”

FINAL CLASSIFICATION, RALLY MONZA
1 Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (Toyota Yaris WRC) 2h39m08.6s
2 Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin (Toyota Yaris WRC) +7.3s

3 Dani Sordo/Cándido Carrera (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +21.3s
4 Thierry Neuville/Martijn Wydaeghe (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +32.0s
5 Oliver Solberg/Elliott Edmondson (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +1m32.0s
6 Teemu Suninen/Mikko Markkula (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +2m22.6s
7 Takamoto Katsuta/Aaron Johnston (Toyota Yaris WRC) +2m34.5s
8 Gus Greensmith/Jonas Andersson (Ford Fiesta WRC) +2m50.2s
9 Kalle Rovanperä/Jonne Halttunen (Toyota Yaris WRC) +4m49.6s
10 Andrea Crugnola/Pietro Ometto (Hyundai i20 N Rally2) +9m06.9s

 

PRESS RELEASE: 17 October 2021

Evans and TOYOTA GAZOO Racing seal second in Spain

Elfyn Evans finished second overall at the Rally de España to set up a final-round FIA World Rally Championship title decider with his TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team team-mate Sébastien Ogier, who finished fourth.

Evans and co-driver Scott Martin had led the rally after winning the first three stages on Friday, but despite battling hard didn’t quite have the level of performance over the rest of the weekend to maintain the fight for the victory. Still, the second-place finish ensures that Evans remains in with a shot of a maiden drivers’ championship going into the final round in Italy.

Ogier was in contention for a podium position all the way to the end of the rally, but just missed out on third position in a closely-fought battle through the final day’s four stages – missing out by 6.8 seconds. Nevertheless he and co-driver Julien Ingrassia continue to the lead the standings with a 17-point advantage over their team-mates as they look to claim an eighth world title.

In the manufacturers’ championship, the points scored by Evans and Ogier – including those achieved by setting the third and fourth fastest times in a tricky rally-ending Power Stage – have added to the team’s tally and brought it a step closer to sealing the title. TOYOTA GAZOO Racing leads by 47 points with a maximum of 52 available from the final round.

All three of the team’s cars finished inside the top five places, with Kalle Rovanperä and Jonne Halttunen securing fifth in the overall classification and in the Power Stage on their first time competing in Spain in the top category of the WRC.

TGR WRC Challenge Program driver Takamoto Katsuta also continued his learning alongside co-driver Aaron Johnston as they reached the finish after restarting the event on Saturday morning.

Quotes:
Akio Toyoda (Team Founder)
“Just before this rally, I received a message from Jari-Matti. He told me that regaining the manufacturers’ championship as a team principal and celebrating together with me was one of his dreams. Three years ago, as a driver, he was having a very tough season. His first win that year was at the final event in Australia and his victory brought the team’s manufacturers’ title in 2018. I clearly remember how happy and excited I was. I, as a driver, was participating in a rally in Japan on that day. When I got the news, I shouted with joy and sent him a congratulatory message right away. I am sure that his dream will come true in Monza, and am looking forward to celebrating together with him.

The drivers’ and co-drivers’ champions were not yet decided either. I simply hope that Seb & Julien and Elfyn & Scott will compete without regrets until the very end, and I’m sure the team will prepare the best cars for them to do that.

The next rally will be the last event we compete in with the current Yaris WRC. Since we came back to WRC in 2017, we have been always saying “let’s keep making the Yaris WRC stronger”. I hope we can have a solid

Jari-Matti Latvala (Team Principal)
“In the end this weekend was not as strong for us as it could have been. It’s important that we learn for the future about why we were struggling at times and how we can react better. But there are still positives: Firstly, that all three cars finished in the top five without any problems. Also, second place for Elfyn is another good result for him and it keeps the fight for the drivers’ title alive until the final round, which is obviously exciting for the championship as a whole. The manufacturers’ championship wasn’t quite decided in our favour this weekend, but our target now is to secure both titles in style at Monza.”

PROVISIONAL FINAL CLASSIFICATION, RALLY DE ESPAÑA
1 Thierry Neuville/Martijn Wydaeghe (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) 2h34m11.8s
2 Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin (Toyota Yaris WRC) +24.1s
3 Dani Sordo/Cándido Carrera (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +35.3s
4 Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (Toyota Yaris WRC) +42.1s
5 Kalle Rovanperä/Jonne Halttunen (Toyota Yaris WRC) +1m31.8s

6 Gus Greensmith/Chris Patterson (Ford Fiesta WRC) +4m17.3s
7 Oliver Solberg/Craig Drew (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +4m26.7s
8 Nil Solans/Marc Martí (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +4m34.9s
9 Eric Camilli/Maxime Vilmot (Citroën C3 Rally2) +9m49.4s
10 Nikolay Gryazin/Konstantin Aleksandrov (Škoda Fabia Rally2 evo) +10m05.9s
(Results as of 15:00 on Sunday, for the latest results please visit www.wrc.com)

What's next?
Italy’s famous Monza racing circuit will host the final round for the second year in a row on November 19-21. This year’s event features a greater number of stages on mountainous asphalt roads near Bergamo.

 

 

PRESS RELEASE: 3 October 2021

Flying Evans delivers another home win for the Toyota Yaris WRC

The TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team is celebrating a fourth home victory on Rally Finland thanks to an outstanding weekend from Elfyn Evans and his co-driver Scott Martin. The British duo are now the only crew who can catch team-mates Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia – who finished fifth in Finland – from winning the championship with two rounds remaining, meaning a Toyota driver is now guaranteed to win the title for a third year in a row. The team has also taken a step closer to clinching the manufacturers’ championship.

In the first Rally Finland to be held for over two years, the team faced strengthened competition on the high-speed gravel roads. Evans was its best-placed driver at the end of the opening day on Friday in third overall, having produced a strong performance despite running second on the road. On Saturday morning he surged into the lead with four stage wins out of four, and he took an advantage of 9.1 seconds into the final day.

He was only 0.4s off the fastest time in the first of Sunday’s tests before delivering fastest times in both SS17 and SS18 to increase his margin. He sealed the win in style with the fastest time in the rally-ending Power Stage, claiming the maximum five bonus points.

The result means that the Toyota Yaris WRC – built in the rally’s home city of Jyväskylä – maintains its unbeaten record on its home roads since its debut in 2017. It is the car’s 25th WRC victory in total, on what was its final gravel event before new technical regulations are introduced for 2022. It’s also the 200th WRC podium for Toyota, which becomes only the third manufacturer to reach the figure.

With his second win of the season, Evans reduces the gap to championship leader Ogier to 24 points with a maximum of 60 available. In the manfuacturers’ championship, Toyota’s lead is increased to 61 points.

Ogier succeeded in his main aim this weekend of reaching the finish and banking more points towards the championship, and became increasingly confident with the car after making setup changes on Saturday.

Finishing one place ahead of Ogier in fourth overall was Esapekka Lappi and Janne Ferm in a privately-entered Toyota Yaris WRC – a strong return to the car with which they claimed a home victory four years ago.

After being caught out during Saturday, both Kalle Rovanperä and TGR WRC Challenge Program driver Takamoto Katsuta were able to restart on Sunday and gain further experience from their maiden Rally Finland starts in the top category of the WRC.

Quotes:
Akio Toyoda (Team Founder)
“In this 2021 season, we were supposed to have four home rallies: in Japan where the Yaris is developed and produced, in Estonia where the team has a factory, and twice in Finland where the team is based. We got second place in the first one, the Arctic Rally, and Kalle and Jonne won the second one in Estonia. This Rally Finland takes place in Jyväskylä, where the team is located, so it’s the ‘real’ home event. Since Rally Japan has been cancelled, we definitely wanted to win this rally.

I imagine not only the crews and Jari-Matti but everybody in the team had more pressure than usual. Elfyn and Scott did a great job under the circumstances and brought lots of smiles to the fans in our hometown. I feel we were able to give back to the place where the Yaris WRC was born and to the roads which made it strong.

I’m grateful to Elfyn, Scott, and the whole team. Elfyn and Scott have never retired so far this season and have always driven through to the Power Stage. The Yaris WRC has certainly become stronger thanks to that and I really appreciate it.

Seb and Julien secured important points with their consistent driving despite the difficult road order. I hope Seb will show us his strong drive in the last two events to finish the season in the best way.

Kalle and Takamoto were really looking forward to drive on their familiar Finnish roads, but it turned out to be a regrettable event for them. However, they both learned from the experience and they will bring smiles to the local fans there in the future.

There are only two events left in the season. The team will come together led by Jari-Matti and make it through to the end. I really hope our fans and the whole team will all be smiling at the end of the season!

PROVISIONAL FINAL CLASSIFICATION, RALLY FINLAND
1 Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin (Toyota Yaris WRC) 2h19m13.7s
2 Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +14.1s
3 Craig Breen/Paul Nagle (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +42.2s
4 Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm (Toyota Yaris WRC) +58.8s
5 Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (Toyota Yaris WRC) +2m54.4s

6 Gus Greensmith/Chris Patterson (Ford Fiesta WRC) +5m02.3s
7 Adrien Fourmaux/Alexandre Coria (Ford Fiesta WRC) +6m22.9s
8 Teemu Suninen/Mikko Markkula (Volkswagen Polo GTI R5) +9m52.1s
9 Mads Østberg/Torstein Eriksen (Citroën C3 Rally2) +10m07.8s
10 Emil Lindholm/Reeta Hämäläinen (Škoda Fabia Rally2 evo) +10m52.8s
34 Kalle Rovanperä/Jonne Halttunen (Toyota Yaris WRC) +1h02m51.7s

What's next?
Rally de España will be the penultimate round of the season on October 14-17. Based in Salou to the south of Barcelona, the event is returning to the calendar after a year away and will be held on fast and smooth asphalt roads – similar to a racing circuit in their characteristics – after several years as a mixed-surface challenge.

 

 

PRESS RELEASE: 15 August 2021

Rovanperä on the podium at Spa for TOYOTA GAZOO Racing

Kalle Rovanperä claimed a podium finish for the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team at Ypres Rally Belgium following a final-day battle with his team-mates Elfyn Evans and Sébastien Ogier as the event came to a close at the iconic Spa-Francorchamps circuit.

In the first Ypres Rally to be held as part of the FIA World Rally Championship, all three of the team’s drivers were very closely matched throughout their debut appearances on the tricky Belgian roads. They ended Saturday covered by just 4.3 seconds in an in-house fight for third overall, with Evans leading Rovanperä and Ogier as they headed to Spa for the final four stages.

The final day’s stages were considerably different in character to what had come before, combining twisty public roads in the Ardennes region with access roads around the Spa circuit as well as sections of the racetrack itself. Rovanperä stole a march on the competition in the day’s first stage, where he posted the fastest time to move ahead of Evans and into third. Ogier meanwhile dropped back from his team-mates after sustaining tyre damage.Rovanperä went on to seal third place by 6.5s over Evans and claim an impressive result for himself and co-driver Jonne Halttunen as the leading Ypres debutants. Evans and his co-driver Scott Martin took fourth while Ogier and Julien Ingrassia finished fifth. Ogier was second-fastest on the rally-ending Power Stage (with Rovanperä fourth and Evans fifth) to gain additional points and strengthen his championship lead, which now stands at 38 points over Evans, who is tied on points with the driver in third. Toyota continues to lead the manufacturers’ standings by 41 points.

Quotes:
Jari-Matti Latvala (Team Principal)
“It was a really close fight between our drivers today and in the end it was Kalle who had great pace and could finish on the podium. He did a strong rally, and that is really nice to see in his first rally back on asphalt after the accident in Croatia. I think all the drivers did a good job this weekend, we just couldn’t fight for the victory because we didn’t have the experience here. On Friday our guys had to learn about the surface and the grip levels and once they had that experience they could match the top times for the rest of the rally, but by then it was a little too late. But we know that we can’t win every rally and still we got important points for the championship this weekend.”

Sébastien Ogier (Driver car 1)
“I was looking forward to an exciting final day with a nice battle for the podium with our team-mates, but after three or four kilometres of the first stage this morning we picked up a puncture. I know why this time: I hit a small rock that I didn’t notice out of the line, and that was the end of the fight for us. After that moment we focused on the Power Stage. We didn’t manage to win it but still we got second place, with four extra points. Thanks to that we come out of this weekend leading the championship by one point more than before, so it’s not that negative.”

CLASSIFICATION, YPRES RALLY BELGIUM

1 Thierry Neuville/Martijn Wydaeghe (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) 2h30m24.2s
2 Craig Breen/Paul Nagle (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +30.7s
3 Kalle Rovanperä/Jonne Halttunen (Toyota Yaris WRC) +43.1s
4 Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin (Toyota Yaris WRC) +49.6s
5 Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (Toyota Yaris WRC)
+55.8s
6 Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +3m46.5s
7 Yohan Rossel/Alexandre Coria (Citroën C3 Rally2) +12m14.9s
8 Pieter Jan Michiel Cracco/Jasper Vermeulen (Škoda Fabia Rally2 evo) +13m05.9s
9 Fabian Kreim/Frank Christian (Volkswagen Polo GTI R5) +13m13.8s
10 Vincent Verschueren/Filip Cuvelier (Volkswagen Polo GTI R5) +13m31.1s

 

 

PRESS RELEASE: 18 July 2021

Record-breaker Rovanperä takes his first win driving Toyota Yaris WRC

Kalle Rovanperä has become the youngest driver to ever win a round of the FIA World Rally Championship after he and co-driver Jonne Halttunen secured victory on Rally Estonia: the fifth win in a row for the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team.

At 20 years and 290 days, Rovanperä claims the record that was previosuly held by the man who is now his Team Principal, Jari-Matti Latvala (who was just over two years older when he won Rally Sweden in 2008).

Rovanperä led after all but two of the event’s 24 stages, held over some of the fastest roads in rallying. He took six out of eight stage wins on Friday in a close battle with his nearest rival, who he then pulled away from during Saturday with some stunning stage times.

He went into the final day with a lead of 50.7 seconds, which he ultimately extended to almost one minute – 59.9 seconds to be precise – with an expertly-controlled drive through the last six stages.

The team’s fifth consecutive win (and sixth from seven rounds so far this year) is the longest-ever WRC winning streak achieved by Toyota in its proud rallying history.

All three of the team’s cars finished inside the top five, with Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia coming fourth and Elfyn Evans and Scott Martin taking fifth. In a tricky rally-ending Power Stage, Ogier, Evans and Rovanperä filled positions three to five to claim additional bonus points. Ogier and Evans remain first and second in the drivers’ standings, separated by 37 points, with Rovanperä up to fourth. Toyota retains its 59-point advantage at the top of the manufacturers’ championship.

Quotes:
Akio Toyoda (Team Founder)
“Kalle, Jonne, congratulations on the victory! I’m really relieved that you could finally go flat-out throughout the rally, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who has this feeling. Everybody in the team must be relieved as they have been watching the crew going through a tough season. That said, there might have been one person with a complicated feeling. Jari-Matti had the record of the youngest WRC winner at 22 years old, and now 20-year-old Kalle broke the record. How was Jari-Matti feeling about this moment coming? A member of the team told me that he was just simply happy that the young star from the same country as him set the new record. As the team owner I was very proud to have such a Team Principal. The winning Yaris WRC was built in our factory based in Estonia. Therefore Estonia is also our home ground. It is great that the first event after the halfway point of the season started with a victory in one of our home events and more home rallies are lining up: Rally Finland in October and Rally Japan in November. Thank you very much for your enthusiastic cheering for us here in Estonia and I appreciate your continued support for TOYOTA GAZOO Racing.”

Jari-Matti Latvala (Team Principal)
“It’s an amazing day today, and a record-breaking win in more ways than one. Every victory is special and enjoyable, but for me to see Kalle’s first victory today has a big meaning. I’m so happy to see him become the youngest ever to win a WRC rally and take the record from me: It keeps up the Finnish tradition, after Henri Toivonen held it before me. He did such a fantastic job this weekend. To take our fifth win in a row – a record for Toyota – is also unbelievable. It’s something unique and special that we’ve done in these last events. There is still a long way to go in both championships but I’m so proud of the team and the drivers.”

1 Kalle Rovanperä/Jonne Halttunen (Toyota Yaris WRC) 2h51m29.1s
2 Craig Breen/Paul Nagle (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +59.9s
3 Thierry Neuville/Martijn Wydaeghe (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +1m12.4s
4 Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (Toyota Yaris WRC) +1m24.0s
5 Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin (Toyota Yaris WRC) +2m07.1s
6 Teemu Suninen/Mikko Markkula (Ford Fiesta WRC) +7m07.3s
7 Pierre-Louis Loubet/Florian Haut-Labourdette (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +8m48.3s
8 Alexey Lukyanuk/Yaroslav Fedorov (Škoda Fabia Rally2 evo) +10m16.1s
9 Andreas Mikkelsen/Ola Fløene (Škoda Fabia Rally2 evo) +10m29.9s
10 Mads Østberg/Torstein Eriksen (Citroën C3 Rally2) +10m46.6s

 

 

PRESS RELEASE: 27 June 2021

TOYOTA GAZOO Racing claims first and second on SafariRally Kenya

The TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team is celebrating victory in the first Safari Rally Kenya to be held as part of the FIA World Rally Championship for nearly 20 years. Sébastien Ogier and co-driver Julien Ingrassia pulled off a superb fightback to take their fourth win from six events and extend their championship lead, while Takamoto Katsuta scored his first ever WRC podium to complete a one-two finish for the Toyota Yaris WRC.

The event lived up to its reputation as an extremely demanding rally, with many of the crews experiencing difficulties over the weekend. Ogier was seventh overall and more than two minutes off the lead after suffering an issue on Friday morning, but he charged back through the field.

He was third overall going into the final day, consisting of five short but very challenging stages. Already in the first stage of the day, trouble befell the erstwhile leader, and this promoted Katsuta into the lead of a rally for the first time, with Ogier close behind.

With just two stages to go the Toyota pair were tied on overall time, and were able to compete fully with each other for the win right until the finish. Ogier claimed his seventh stage win of the weekend to move ahead before the one-two finish – the fourth such result for Toyota this season – was secured in the rally-ending Power Stage. The victory is the ninth claimed by Toyota in the history of the Safari Rally.

Taking two additional bonus points in the Power Stage, Ogier’s championship lead is now up to 34 points ahead of team-mate Elfyn Evans, who remains second in the standings.

Katsuta’s maiden podium finish is a landmark result for the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WRC Challenge Program, which has helped to develop the Japanese driver’s talent since 2015.

All four Toyota Yaris WRC crews finished inside the top 10. Kalle Rovanperä and co-driver Jonne Halttunen were in the battle for the lead on Friday before becoming stuck in deep ruts in the day’s final stage. They could still finish sixth overall, and took second in the Power Stage.

Evans and co-driver Scott Martin retired in Friday’s second stage but restarted on Saturday, and on Sunday they climbed back into 10th place overall as well as taking third in the Power Stage.

These points mean the team has further increased its lead in the manufacturers’ standings to 59 points at the halfway stage of the season.

Quotes:
Akio Toyoda (Team Founder)
“Seb and Julien, congratulations! To our fans, thank you very much for your strong support!

However, please allow me to let out this feeling first today:
Takamoto, it was fantastic! I’m very happy with what he has achieved. He started the final day ahead of Seb, kept running for the victory and finally stood on the podium. It was so impressive that I was shaking. Since this afternoon, I have been communicating with his father a lot. Both of us were so anxious and not able to do anything else. I am lucky that I was off today. He has completed the rally on those very harsh roads which he has never experienced before, fighting for victory with the world’s top drivers. I think, in this rally alone, he has grown up a lot more than he did before. There are six rallies left in this season, and the last one is Rally Japan. It is going to be very exciting.

In this rally, I also recognised again how strong a driver Seb is. It was easy to imagine the roughness of the roads in Kenya. Due to his excellent tyre management skills, he caught Takamoto and overtook him in the last three stages. I am very thankful that we have this respected driver in our team and his presence leads to the progress of other team members as well.

I would also like to express my appreciation to all of the team. A WRC round was held in Kenya for the first time after 19 years. It was the first experience for everybody. Thanks to engineers who kept analysing the information from recce, the crews could drive with confidence. Our success in Kenya was because of every single member both on-site and in Finland.

And of course, my appreciation also goes to Elfyn, Scott, Kalle and Jonne too. Even after they unfortunately had to retire during Friday, they kept on sharing information to the team, which made Seb and Takamoto successful. I promise we improve our rally cars for the second half of the season so that they feel more confident in return for their teamwork.

President Kenyatta made a heartwarming welcome and a strong support for the rally. I also felt a welcoming atmosphere as a country, watching children waving and animals running. I would like to take this opportunity to offer my sincere gratitude to everyone in Kenya. I hope we will also welcome many rally drivers at Rally Japan with this kind of warm atmosphere

Finally, I offer my appreciation to our family members in Africa, Toyota Tsusho who supported and cheered the team. They also shared what’s happening in the rally with us every time. Thanks to them, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing enjoyed the road in Kenya with confidence like another home country.

Thank you very much! HATU JAMBO! ASANTE SANA!”

Jari-Matti Latvala (Team Principal)
“This is a really special day at the end of an amazing weekend. After Friday it was looking tough for us, and now we have a one-two finish on this classic rally, the first for almost 20 years in the WRC. The victory was based on the endurance and the consistency that we showed, as well as the never give-up attitude and the commitment of the team. When Seb had his problem he stayed calm and when he saw the chance he attacked and took the victory. I am also very happy to see Takamoto on the podium for the first time. The steps he has been taking have been amazing and he really deserves this result.”

PROVISIONAL FINAL CLASSIFICATION, SAFARI RALLY KENYA
1 Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (Toyota Yaris WRC) 3h18m11.3s
2 Takamoto Katsuta/Dan Barritt (Toyota Yaris WRC) +21.8s

3 Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +1m09.5s
4 Gus Greensmith/Chris Patterson (Ford Fiesta WRC) +1m54.6s
5 Adrien Fourmaux/Renaud Jamoul (Ford Fiesta WRC) +1m54.7s
6 Kalle Rovanperä/Jonne Halttunen (Toyota Yaris WRC) +10m53.4s
7 Onkar Rai/Drew Sturrock (Volkswagen Polo GTI R5) +29m26.4s
8 Karan Patel/Tauseef Khan (Ford Fiesta R5) +33m30.4s
9 Carl Tundo/Tim Jessop (Volkswagen Polo GTI R5) +36m40.7s
10 Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin (Toyota Yaris WRC) +49m22.7s
(For the latest results please visit www.wrc.com)

What's next?
Rally Estonia (July 15-18) takes place over fast and smooth gravel roads with many crests and jumps, as well as some more technical sections.

 

PRESS RELEASE: June 6, 2021

WFC RALLY SARDINIA

TOYOTA GAZOO Racing scores a remarkable one-two in Sardinia

The TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team has claimed an amazing one-two finish on Rally Italia Sardegna, with Sébastien Ogier scoring his third victory from five events so far this season and Elfyn Evans taking second to complete a remarkable result that extends the team’s advantage in the championship.

The team’s maiden Sardinia win came after a fast and reliable performance from the Toyota Yaris WRC and its drivers, who were able to overcome their disadvantageous positions at the head of the road order on Friday. Ogier was particularly impressive opening the road on Friday, ending the day in third before climbing into the rally lead on Saturday, when Evans also improved his confidence and speed to rise to second.

Ogier and co-driver Julien Ingrassia safely managed their advantage through the final day’s four stages to clinch their fourth Sardinia victory and first since 2015.

Evans, co-driven by Scott Martin, started the final day with a strong stage win in SS17 to increase his advantage over third place, and was also fastest in SS19. In the final stage he was slowed after water entered the car in a watersplash, but the buffer he had built earlier meant his second place was secured.

With two bonus points for the fourth fastest time in the Power Stage, Ogier now leads the championship by 11 points over Evans, who is in turn 18 points ahead of the driver in third.

Taking three bonus points for the third-best time in the Power Stage was Kalle Rovanperä, who together with co-driver Jonne Halttunen had been forced to stop by a technical issue on Friday while running in second position. With the help of their additional points, Toyota now has a 49-point lead in the manufuacturers’ standings.

Three Toyota Yaris WRC crews finished inside the top four, with TGR WRC Challenge Program driver Takamoto Katsuta repeating the personal-best finish of fourth he recorded on the previous round in Portugal to continue his recent progress. On the final day Katsuta took a steady approach to secure the result while his co-driver Dan Barritt was feeling unwell as a result of dehydration due to the heat in Sardinia. Barritt was checked and released by doctors after the finish.

Quotes:
Akio Toyoda (Team Founder)
“I’m so proud that the team could finally win in Sardinia for the first time. Finally we could enjoy the tradition of jumping into the sea at the podium, and the one-two finish should make even the salty sea water taste nice. Congratulations!”

“I was there in Sardinia for the rally two years ago. Preparing a towel and a change of clothes, I was already thinking about how to dive in safely. However, the Yaris WRC, which was leading the rally, suddenly slowed down on the final stage. Even now I still feel sorry for Ott who was driving the car back then.”

“Thanks to Seb, Julien, Elfyn and Scott, who drove really well on the very demanding roads in Sardinia, we were able to find out how delicious the sea water is. My appreciation also goes to the team members who have been working to enhance the reliability of the cars. But there is still a lot for us to do, and I’m really sorry for what happened to Kalle and Jonne. I am sure that Jari-Matti, together with all of the team members, will continue making our cars stronger already from tomorrow.”

“Lastly, I would like to thank our fans for their passionate support. The next event is Kenya, which will be a totally new discovery for our team. I appreciate your continued support for us.”

“P.S. To Dan,
We can fix a car over and over, but Takamoto cannot compete without you. I think Takamoto put your health condition first and drove steady at the end. Together you made a very good decision. Please remember that health is always the most important!”

PROVISIONAL FINAL CLASSIFICATION, RALLY ITALIA SARDEGNA
1 Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (Toyota Yaris WRC) 3h19m26.4s
2 Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin (Toyota Yaris WRC) +46.0s

3 Thierry Neuville/Martijn Wydaeghe (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +1m05.2s
4 Takamoto Katsuta/Dan Barritt (Toyota Yaris WRC) +6m11.2s
5 Jari Huttunen/Mikko Lukka (Hyundai i20 R5) +9m31.7s
6 Mads Østberg/Torstein Eriksen (Citroën C3 Rally2) +9m39.2s
7 Yohan Rossel/Alexandre Coria (Citroën C3 Rally2) +10m37.7s
8 Pepe López/Diego Vallejo (Škoda Fabia Rally2 evo) +11m03.7s
9 Jan Solans/Rodrigo Sanjuan de Eusebio (Citroën C3 Rally2) +11m26.3s
10 Marco Bulacia/Marcelo Der Ohannesian (Škoda Fabia Rally2 evo) +11m34.6s
25 Kalle Rovanperä/Jonne Halttunen (Toyota Yaris WRC) +54m18.8s
(Results as of 15:00 on Sunday, for the latest results please visit www.wrc.com)

What's next?
The iconic Safari Rally Kenya returns to the WRC calendar for the first time in almost 20 years on June 24-27. With a reputation for gruelling conditions, the African gravel event promises to provide an all-new challenge for the current crop of drivers.

 

PRESS RELEASE: May 23, 2021

WRC RALLY PORTUGAL

Evans wins, Ogier on the podium for TOYOTA GAZOO Racing

The TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team is celebrating its third win and double podium finish from four events so far in 2021 after Elfyn Evans claimed victory at the Rally de Portugal. Sébastien Ogier finished third and continues to lead the drivers’ championship – two points in front of Evans – while the team has extended its lead in the manufacturers’ standings.

Along with co-driver Scott Martin, Evans drove a consistent and intelligent rally and was rewarded with the lead on Saturday afternoon. His advantage coming into the final day’s five stages was a narrow 10.7 seconds, but he stormed through the opening test 8.9s quicker than anyone else to almost double his margin. He claimed two further stage wins later during the morning – bringing his tally for the weekend to six – and ultimately sealed victory by 28.3s. It’s the fourth win of his WRC career, and his third since joining Toyota at the start of 2020.

Ogier and co-driver Julien Ingrassia recovered well from the disadvantage of running first on the road on Friday and sweeping the loose gravel stages. Securing third overall, he saved his tyres for the rally-ending Power Stage to try and secure as many points as possible. He set the third-best time, giving him three bonus points and his two-point advantage in the standings over Evans, who was fifth-fastest in the same test as he sealed the overall win.

Finishing a superb fourth place after a fast and consistent weekend, Takamoto Katsuta claimed the best result of his career to-date, driving a Yaris WRC as part of the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WRC Challenge Program.

After retiring due to technical reasons on Saturday afternoon, Kalle Rovanperä restarted this morning, taking the opportunity to gain further knowledge and also setting the fourth-best time in the Power Stage.

Quotes:
Akio Toyoda (Team Founder)
“Elfyn and Scott, congratulations and thank you for bringing valuable points to the team. Turning their frustration in Croatia into power, they showed their strength on the difficult roads in Portugal. I would also like to thank our fans for the passionate support throughout the weekend.”

“Takamoto, congratulations on the best result of your career! When I checked the live results in the middle of the event, he was only 1.5 seconds behind Seb who was in third place. I was very impressed when he set the top times in Croatia but I was even more surprised by his progress this time. I expect he will continue to surprise us in the future.”

“As Takamoto becomes a top driver, he will be faced with an environment that he has never experienced before and he may feel worried or lost then. But he can believe in me and my team, as our team always put drivers’ growth first and shares the joy of their improvements. We can continue to grow together.”

“I was at Fuji Speedway this weekend for a 24 hours endurance race. I used a kind of “magic word” to my team at Fuji and I heard Jari-Matti also used the word to the team in Portugal. I always feel that Jari-Matti and I are working together nearby even though we are physically so far apart. I really appreciate the team’s hard work during the weekend. Kiitos!Preparation for Sardinia starts right away, so we will keep working hard together.”

Quotes:
Jari-Matti Latvala (Team Principal)
“We are very, very happy with this result. At the beginning of the rally it wasn’t looking like we would finish on the highest step of the podium. But in rallying you have to complete every corner until the end of the very last stage, and in the end we won the rally, which is always a fantastic feeling. Elfyn has been the most consistent driver over the weekend and the performance has been at a high level as well. And generally the team has been doing really good work over the weekend with a lot of positive things to take away: Seb scoring the third place, bringing great points for the championship, and also Takamoto taking his best ever result in fourth. Unfortunately it was a more disappointing rally for Kalle, but I’m sure he will be very motivated to come back strongly.”

PROVISIONAL FINAL CLASSIFICATION, RALLY DE PORTUGAL
1 Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin (Toyota Yaris WRC) 3h38m26.2s
2 Dani Sordo/Borja Rozada (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +28.3s
3 Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (Toyota Yaris WRC) +1m23.6s
4 Takamoto Katsuta/Dan Barritt (Toyota Yaris WRC) +2m28.4s
5 Gus Greensmith/Chris Patterson (Ford Fiesta WRC) +4m52.7s
6 Adrien Fourmaux/Renaud Jamoul (Ford Fiesta WRC) +5m03.4s
7 Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm (Volkswagen Polo GTI R5) +9m37.2s
8 Teemu Suninen/Mikko Markkula (Ford Fiesta Rally2) +11m20.0s
9 Mads Østberg/Torstein Eriksen (Citroën C3 Rally2) +12m01.5s
10 Nikolay Gryazin/Konstantin Aleksandrov (Volkswagen Polo GTI R5) +12m35.8s
22 Kalle Rovanperä/Jonne Halttunen (Toyota Yaris WRC) +22m10.2s

 

 

PRESS RELEASE: April 25, 2021

WRC CROATIA RALLY

Incredible finish delivers TOYOTA GAZOO Racing one-two

The TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team claimed another one-two finish in a thrilling conclusion to the first ever Croatia Rally held as part of the FIA World Rally Championship. In a final-stage decider that went right down to the last metres, Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia claimed the victory by just 0.6 seconds over their team-mates Elfyn Evans and Scott Martin in one of the WRC’s closest ever finishes.

Just 10.4s covered the top three cars going into the final day of the rally, with Ogier 6.9s in front of Evans. In the opening two stages of the final day, Evans was the fastest driver and took the lead away from Ogier – who had earlier been involved in a traffic incident on a road section, from which everybody thankfully came away safely. His car was able to continue in the rally, albeit with damage to the right-side door and aerodynamics.

Evans and Ogier began the deciding Power Stage separated by 3.9s, and needing to push to secure the one-two result with only a narrow margin back to third place. In the end, Ogier was fastest through the stage and claimed the victory, Evans completing 4.5s slower after running wide close to the end. The final winning margin was the third closest in WRC history.

With a maximum points haul, Ogier moves back to the top of the drivers’ standings and the team extends its lead in the manfuacturers’ championship to 27 points.

Takamoto Katsuta claimed his third consecutive sixth-place finish in the Toyota Yaris WRC he drives as part of the TGR WRC Challenge Program, having impressed with his pace and two stage wins on Saturday alongside co-driver Dan Barritt.

Quotes:
Akio Toyoda (Team Founder)
“I’m very proud that our crews delivered victory to the team in this new Croatia Rally. To Seb, Julien, and the team, congratulations! Seb and Julien had an unexpected accident on the road section. After this they weren’t able to compete with their car in perfect condition on the final day, but they never gave up and they finally won the rally. I really appreciate their hard work. Elfyn and Scott also did great by finishing so close behind. It’s wonderful that we achieved a one-two finish.”

“It was also great that Takamoto won two stages. It would be nice to say that the advice I gave him when we met in Japan a few weeks ago was helpful, but it’s all about his own improvement through his continual efforts. I’m looking forward to seeing his improvement in the coming events as well. Kalle and Jonne’s rally ended very early. I was relieved to know that they were both OK and I believe they still learned from this rally.”

“Led by Jari-Matti, the team shows its strength in every rally with all team members working together. The events come without much break after the next one Portugal. Taking our health as the first priority, we continue our preparations. To our fans, please continue cheering for the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team. We always appreciate your support and encouragement. Thank you very much.”

Quotes:
Jari-Matti Latvala (Team Principal)
“It is so tense and exciting following the action on the stages when our drivers fighting for the victory like they were today. I feel very sorry for Elfyn, he went a little bit wide on the last corner and basically it was lost there, but they both had to push, and Seb did a brilliant final stage. We are happy, we need to be proud of what these guys have done this weekend and for another one-two finish, which is an amazing result for the tea

FINAL CLASSIFICATION, CROATIA RALLY
1 Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (Toyota Yaris WRC) 2h51m22.9s
2 Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin (Toyota Yaris WRC) +0.6s

3 Thierry Neuville/Martijn Wydaeghe (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +8.1s
4 Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +1m25.1s
5 Adrien Fourmaux/Renaud Jamoul (Ford Fiesta WRC) +3m09.7s
6 Takamoto Katsuta/Dan Barritt (Toyota Yaris WRC) +3m31.8s
7 Gus Greensmith/Chris Patterson (Ford Fiesta WRC) +3m58.8s
8 Craig Breen/Paul Nagle (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +4m28.2s
9 Mads Østberg/Torstein Eriksen (Citroën C3 Rally2) +10m00.8s
10 Teemu Suninen/Mikko Markkula (Ford Fiesta Rally2) +10m29.3s
Retired Kalle Rovanperä/Jonne Halttunen (Toyota Yaris WRC)

 

 

PRESS RELEASE: February 28, 2021

WRC RALLY FINLAND

Flying Finn Rovanperä claims the championship lead in the Toyota Yaris WRC

Kalle Rovanperä has become the youngest ever driver to lead the FIA World Rally Championship standings after finishing in a strong second place on home ground at Arctic Rally Finland, securing the position with the fastest time on the rally-ending Power Stage in his Toyota Yaris WRC.

Twenty-year-old Rovanperä and his co-driver Jonne Halttunen were among the pacesetters from the beginning of the rally, and were holding onto second overall by just 1.8 seconds at the beginning of the final day – a margin they extended by 0.1s in the first of the two passes of the Aittaja¨rvi stage.

In the repeat pass on the Power Stage, Rovanperä achieved the best time by 0.3s, securing second overall by 2.3s – the best result of his FIA World Rally Championship career to-date. With the Power Stage win he also claimed the maximum of five bonus points on offer towards both the drivers’ and manufacturers’ standings, and now leads the championship for the first time in his career by four points over his nearest rival.

With Elfyn Evans finishing in fifth position, the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team continues to lead the manufacturers’ championship with an 11-point advantage. Evans had been fastest in the first stage of the day as he kept the pressure on in the battle for fourth overall, but ultimately missed out by 8.9s.

He is now joint third in the championship together with team-mate Sébastien Ogier, who restarted on Sunday and claimed one additional point for fifth in the Power Stage despite a disadvantageous road position.

TGR WRC Challenge Program driver Takamoto Katsuta gained sixth place on the very last stage in his Yaris WRC, matching the career-best result he achieved on the opening round of the season in Monte Carlo.

Quotes:
Jari-Matti Latvala (Team Principal)
“Kalle has produced a very very good performance on this rally, managing to maintain second position on the final day and also winning the Power Stage, scoring good points for the team and for himself. Elfyn tried hard to gain fourth but it wasn’t to be. We are still leading both championships so we can be satisfied, but of course we wanted more. This was a home rally for the team and we were hoping to be able to win here. We seemed to be struggling a little bit with the setup so the drivers were not completely happy with the car all of the time. We were fast on some of the stages but then there were some stages where we were not so competitive and we need to analyse why.”

Kalle Rovanperä (Driver car 69)
“I’m really pleased with the second place. It was quite a difficult weekend, I was pushing really hard and we couldn’t always be on the optimal pace, but we were fighting back all the time. In the Power Stage I gave everything that I had and it was enough, so we got really good points from here. It’s really nice to be in this position now, leading the championship for the first time. It’s going to be a new situation for me going to the next event, and we just have to keep up the pace and be consistent like we have been here.”

1 Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) 2h03m49.6s
2 Kalle Rovanperä/Jonne Halttunen (Toyota Yaris WRC) +17.5s
3 Thierry Neuville/Martijn Wydaeghe (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +19.8s
4 Craig Breen/Paul Nagle (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +52.6s
5 Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin (Toyota Yaris WRC) +1m01.5s
6 Takamoto Katsuta/Dan Barritt (Toyota Yaris WRC) +1m37.8s

7 Oliver Solberg/Seb Marshall (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +1m39.0s
8 Teemu Suninen/Mikko Markkula (Ford Fiesta WRC) +2m09.0s
9 Gus Greensmith/Elliott Edmondson (Ford Fiesta WRC) +3m39.4s
10 Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm (Volkswagen Polo GTI R5) +6m07.0s
20 Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (Toyota Yaris WRC) +11m06.2s

 

 

PRESS RELEASE: January 24, 2021

Rallye Monte-Carlo

Ogier claims record eighth Monte-Carlo win in Toyota Yaris WRC 1-2

Sébastien Ogier and his co-driver Julien Ingrassia have won the legendary Rallye Monte-Carlo for a record eighth time, leading team-mates Elfyn Evans and Scott Martin in a fantastic one-two finish for the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team on the opening round of the 2021 season. Kalle Rovanperä and Jonne Halttunen finished fourth to complete an amazing weekend for the team.

The victory is also the 50th for Ogier and Ingrassia in the FIA World Rally Championship, becoming only the second competitors to reach the landmark.

This is the first time that the team has won the WRC’s most prestigious event with its Toyota Yaris WRC, having made the podium every year since its debut in 2017. It is the fourth Rallye Monte-Carlo win in Toyota’s history, coming on the 30th anniversary of its maiden victory in 1991.

Rallye Monte-Carlo lived up to its reputation as the most demanding event on the WRC calendar with special challenges for this year’s edition. A modified schedule to follow coronavirus restrictions in France meant that some stages took place before dawn complete with ice and snow. WRC teams also had to get to grips with tyres from the new sole supplier Pirelli on an event where tyre choice is always criticial to the outcome.

The Toyota team led the rally from its third stage early on Friday morning, with Rovanperä, Ogier and then Evans all taking turns in the lead over the course of the rally’s longest day. On his home event, Ogier claimed the lead back with a storming stage win on Saturday’s first test. He took a 13-second advantage over Evans into the final day, when he won three of the four stages – including the rally-ending Power Stage – to begin the defence of his title in the perfect way.

With second place Evans also makes a strong start to his championship campaign, while Rovanperä begins his second season at rallying’s highest level having fought for the podium on such a demanding event. Tyre damage on Sunday’s first stage contributed to Rovanperä missing out on the top three, but he did finish with the second fastest time in the Power Stage.

With Evans third quickest, the team locked out the top three positions on the Power Stage, which from this season also gives bonus points towards the manufacturers’ championship. This, combined with the one-two finish in the rally, means the team takes maximum points from the opening round – a dream start for new Team Principal Jari-Matti Latvala as he looks to build upon the work of his predecessor Tommi Mäkinen.

TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WRC Challenge Program driver Takamoto Katsuta made it four Yaris WRC drivers in the top six as he completed Rallye Monte-Carlo for the second year in a row and scored his best WRC result so far in sixth place.

Quotes:
Akio Toyoda (Team Founder)
“The fifth season of the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team has begun. Firstly, I would like to express my gratitude to everyone who made it possible for us to compete in the WRC again despite this very difficult time all over the world. And secondly, I would like to send my appreciation to the team who achieved a great result with a one-two finish in the opening round.”

“Seb and Julien, who I am sure achieved this result with pride and responsibility, congratulations on the victory in your home rally, and your 50th win! Elfyn and Scott, thank you for bringing the points for second place! Kalle and Jonne must have been frustrated with the tyre damage on the final day, but you two showed us a great run for sure. Takamoto also completed the rally with further improvement together with Dan. I’m proud that he achieved his highest result ever.

“Since last autumn, the team has put in the maximum effort to make the transition to a new company and organisation. Some team members even kept working through the Christmas holiday to prepare for the new season and this victory under the new structure.”

PROVISIONAL FINAL CLASSIFICATION, RALLYE MONTE-CARLO
1 Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (Toyota Yaris WRC) 2h56m33.7s
2 Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin (Toyota Yaris WRC) +32.6s

3 Thierry Neuville/Martijn Wydaeghe (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +1m13.5s
4 Kalle Rovanperä/Jonne Halttunen (Toyota Yaris WRC) +2m33.6s
5 Dani Sordo/Carlos del Barrio (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +3m14.2s
6 Takamoto Katsuta/Dan Barritt (Toyota Yaris WRC) +7m01.3s
7 Andreas Mikkelsen/Ola Fløene (Škoda Fabia Rally2 evo) +7m23.6s
8 Gus Greensmith/Elliott Edmondson (Ford Fiesta WRC) +8m21.1s
9 Adrien Fourmaux/Renaud Jamoul (Ford Fiesta Rally2) +9m15.8s
10 Eric Camilli/François-Xavier Buresi (Citroën C3 Rally2) +10m41.0s