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    #WRC – Round 2 – Arctic Rally Finland – Flying Finn Rovanperä claims the championship lead in the Toyota Yaris WRC

    February 27, 2021
    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 Aittajärvi 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.” FINAL CLASSIFICATION, ARCTIC RALLY FINLAND 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

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

    January 22, 2021
    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. Jari-Matti Latvala (Team Principal) “I am really, really proud of the team. What a fantastic result. For my first rally in this role and immediately we have

    Jari-Matti Latvala appointed Team Principal of TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team

    January 4, 2021
    To complete the squad of expert drivers at TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team is a new Team Principal: Jari-Matti Latvala. The most experienced driver in the history of the WRC, Latvala has been appointed to succeed Tommi Mäkinen, who takes up the role of Motorsport Advisor to Toyota from January 2021. Latvala has been selected by Akio Toyoda, President of Toyota Motor Corporation, to bring a driver’s perspective to a management team that also includes Yuichiro Haruna, Project Director; Kaj Lindström, Sporting Director; and Tom Fowler, Technical Director. A winner of 18 rounds of the WRC, Latvala has been part of the story of the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team since its debut in 2017. After joining the team he played a crucial role in the development of the Toyota Yaris WRC in weeks before its competitive debut at Rallye Monte-Carlo – where he finished second overall. He then claimed the team’s first victory in the following event, Rally Sweden. His win on Rally Australia at the end of 2018 helped to secure the manufacturers’ championship for Toyota. As well as being one of rallying’s most popular drivers, Latvala is known for his enthusiasm of the sport, and even maintains and competes in classic Toyota rally cars. During 2020, he has served as an ambassador for TOYOTA GAZOO Racing around the world, something that will continue in his new role as Team Principal. He will also bring his knowledge and understanding of what a top rally driver requires from a car and from a team. His recent and extensive experience of competing at the front of the WRC will be particularly valuable for the team’s young drivers; namely Rovanperä and TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WRC Challenge Program driver Takamoto Katsuta. Quotes: Akio Toyoda (Team Chairman, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team) “It’s been a year since we gave Jari-Matti a send-off from the team as a driver. And now, I’m very glad that I’m delivering this message again. When thinking about our new team from 2021, Jari-Matti’s face first came to my mind. That’s because there were many situations in which I empathised with him since we met.” “He always thinks of the fans and of his team-mates. Being one of the top drivers, I often saw him running up to fans as soon as he got out of the car at the service park. He cared about everybody in the team like mechanics and engineers and always talked to them. I believe this kind of attitude and character empowered the team a lot and helped lead to the manufacturers’ title.” “When I first met him, he was wearing Volkswagen overalls, but he talked to me about his old Celicas and Corollas with a huge passion. The following year, he changed his overalls to Toyota’s. He loved our Yaris WRC, took very good care of it, and made it stronger. As a car guy who loves cars, I still remember how happy I was to see his love for cars

    Rally RACC – Day 2 – THE TOYOTA YARIS WRC SHOWS ITS ASPHALT SPEED

    October 26, 2019
    Jari-Matti Latvala showed good pace during the day, going second-quickest on both runs over the Querol stage. He ended the day in fifth place having opened up an advantage of over 20 seconds to the driver behind. Jari-Matti Latvala (Driver car 10) “Overall, I must say that today has been good. At first this morning, I struggled with the brakes a bit after the change from gravel, but in the second stage already I had a very good feeling with the car. The afternoon started pretty well too. On El Montmell I ran wide, hit something and damaged the steering arm so we lost a bit of time there. But otherwise, it has been a positive day. Tomorrow I’m going to try to keep the pressure on and see what happens, as we need as many points as we can get.” END OF DAY TWO (SATURDAY): 1 Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) 2h25m15.8s 2 Dani Sordo/Carlos del Barrio (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +21.5s 3 Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja (Toyota Yaris WRC) +24.6s 4 Sébastien Loeb/Daniel Elena (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +25.2s 5 Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (Toyota Yaris WRC) +46.8s 6 Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin (Ford Fiesta WRC) +1m09.2s 7 Teemu Suninen/Jarmo Lehtinen (Ford Fiesta WRC) +1m24.5s 8 Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (Citroën C3 WRC) +4m09.9s 9 Mads Østberg/Torstein Eriksen (Citroën C3 R5) +6m35.2s 10 Eric Camilli/Benjamin Veillas (Citroën C3 R5) +6m38.2s 39 Kris Meeke/Seb Marshall (Toyota Yaris WRC) +42m38.7s What’s next? The final day consists of a pair of asphalt stages close to Salou, which will both be run twice either side of service. The latter test, La Mussara, will host the rally-ending Power Stage, where the maximum of five bonus points on offer could prove crucial in the drivers’ championship. Key stage: La Mussara (SS15 & SS17, 20.72 kilometres) Miikka Anttila (Co-driver car 10): “This is probaly the one stage this weekend that none of the crews have much experience on. The first six kilometres were driven in 2016; the rest not for a long time in this direction. In the beginning, the road turns a lot, and once on top of the hill it’s very fast and flat-out in places. Then it’s back to a slower road down to the finish.”
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