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    Rally Finland – Round 8 – Evans and TOYOTA GAZOO Racing score another fine Finnish victory

    August 6, 2023
    TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team is celebrating another win on its home roads of Rally Finland thanks to a spectacular drive by Elfyn Evans, with team-mate Takamoto Katsuta also battling to finish on the podium in third overall. Evans becomes only the third driver from outside of Finland to win the event on multiple occasions as he and co-driver Scott Martin repeated their 2021 triumph on the fastest rally in the FIA World Rally Championship. Welshman Evans looked at home in his GR YARIS Rally1 HYBRID all weekend, closely matched with team-mate and local hero Kalle Rovanperä on Friday until the Finn had to retire following a crash. Having taken over the lead, Evans was then in fine form on Saturday, winning seven consecutive stages to build an advantage of over 30 seconds ahead of the final day. He won three of Sunday’s last four stages, sealing his seventh career victory by 39.1s with the fastest time in the rally-ending Power Stage. Second in the championship standings, Evans’ maximum score means he is now 25 points from leader Rovanperä with four rallies remaining. Katsuta scored his fourth WRC podium after a strong and confident performance on the roads around Jyväskylä, where he has lived for many years. He and co-driver Aaron Johnston won Friday’s first forest stage and were soon fighting for a podium place on pace, even as others were caught out by the slippery conditions that dominated the event. An excellent drive on wet roads to win Saturday’s final stage also allowed him to regain the advantage in his fight for third with Teemu Suninen (Hyundai). He stretched that advantage with a further fastest time on SS20 on Sunday before setting the fourth-best time in the Power Stage to seal third overall. Following its fifth Rally Finland win since 2017, TGR-WRT increases its manufacturers’ championship lead to 67 points. Jari-Matti Latvala finished fifth overall after driving his home event for the first time since 2019 – at the invitation of TGR-WRT Chairman Akio Toyoda, who took on his Team Principal duties in the service park. Along with co-driver Juho Hänninen – the team’s test driver – Latvala delighted fans all weekend with his enthusiasm on the stages during his first experience of competition with the GR YARIS Rally1 HYBRID. Jari-Matti Latvala (Driver car 97)“It has been an amazing and fun feeling all weekend, I really enjoyed the driving in this car. Thank you to Akio and the team for giving me this great opportunity. It’s been something really phenomenal that I will remember for the rest of the life. It was extraordinary to be able to drive relaxed without having to think about the results. When the conditions were difficult, we could just drive with our own rhythm and to end up fifth overall and even score in the Power Stage, it’s just fantastic. It is also really special to see Elfyn on the top step of the podium and Takamoto in third and I’m really happy

    Round 8 – Rally Estonia – Rovanperä and TOYOTA GAZOO Racing rule rapid Estonian roads again

    July 23, 2023
    Kalle Rovanperä has stormed to a dominant Rally Estonia victory for the third year in a row with TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team, extending his lead in the FIA World Rally Championship. Guided by co-driver Jonne Halttunen, Rovanperä once again looked at home aboard his GR YARIS Rally1 HYBRID on some of the fastest roads in the WRC. He held a narrow lead at the end of Friday despite having to run first on the loose gravel stages, and was quite literally unbeatable thereafter as he pulled clear of the competition.He recorded a remarkable run of 13 consecutive stage wins from Saturday morning until the rally-ending Power Stage on Sunday afternoon – becoming the first driver to have such a streak of fastest times on a WRC round since Sébastien Loeb in Germany 15 years ago.Quickest in the finale by two seconds, he secured his second win of the season by 52.7s overall and claimed the maximum 30 points to increase his standings lead to 55 points. The victory is his 10th in the WRC in the two years since he became its youngest-ever winner on Rally Estonia 2021.Elfyn Evans remains second in the drivers’ standings after he and co-driver Scott Martin were second-fastest in the Power Stage and finished fourth overall following a thrilling fight for the final place on the podium with Esapekka Lappi (Hyundai) – finishing just 7.3s away. Takamoto Katsuta and co-driver Aaron Johnston finished seventh overall, only 0.3 seconds away from a place in the top six. TGR-WRT has increased its manufacturers’ championship lead to 57 points. Jari-Matti Latvala (Team Principal) “Kalle really dominated this rally. To start as first car on the road on Friday and be able to be leading by the end of the day, and then be fastest in every stage on Saturday and Sunday, winning the Power Stage – it’s just total domination. This is probably the strongest rally for him on the calendar, it’s like a home rally to him and the one he loves to drive the most, and he took the absolute maximum from it which is great for his title defence. We also saw a very good fight from Elfyn and he did a strong drive on the Power Stage to be second-fastest, scoring really valuable points for himself but also for the manufacturers’ championship where we have increased our lead. It has been fantastic to have Sato-san with us this weekend and to share the celebrations with him. Now we look forward to the team’s home rally in Finland in two weeks and hope we can win there too.” PROVISIONAL FINAL CLASSIFICATION, RALLY ESTONIA 1 Kalle Rovanperä/Jonne Halttunen (Toyota GR YARIS Rally1 HYBRID) 2h36m03.1s2 Thierry Neuville/Martijn Wydaeghe (Hyundai i20 N Rally1 HYBRID) +52.7s3 Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm (Hyundai i20 N Rally1 HYBRID) +59.5s4 Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin (Toyota GR YARIS Rally1 HYBRID) +1m06.8s5 Teemu Suninen/Mikko Markkula (Hyundai i20 N Rally1 HYBRID) +2m21.1s6 Pierre-Louis Loubet/Nicolas Gilsoul (Ford Puma Rally1 HYBRID) +3m09.9s7 Takamoto Katsuta/Aaron Johnston (Toyota GR YARIS Rally1 HYBRID)

    TOYOTA GAZOO Racing repeats perfect four-star finish on WRC’s toughest rally

    June 26, 2023
    TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team has achieved an incredible clean sweep of the top four positions on Safari Rally Kenya for the second year in succession: Sébastien Ogier winning the epic African event ahead of team-mates Kalle Rovanperä, Elfyn Evans and Takamoto Katsuta. TGR-WRT remains unbeaten on the toughest round of the FIA World Rally Championship since it returned to the calendar in 2021, with Toyota’s all-time Safari record now extended to 11 victories – 10 of those achieved as part of the WRC. The 1-2-3-4 finish comes 30 years to the month since Toyota first recorded such a result in Kenya with the Celica ST185, something it repeated with the GR YARIS Rally1 HYBRID in 2022. It’s the first time any manufacturer has managed the feat on the same WRC round on three separate occasions, or to do it in two successive editions of a rally. Ogier’s second Safari success in three years is also his third victory from five starts so far this season together with co-driver Vincent Landais. They led ever since the first full-length stage of the rally on Friday morning, and came into Sunday with a lead of 16.7 seconds over last year’s Safari winners, Rovanperä and Jonne Halttunen. Six stages and 74.38 competitive kilometres remained on the final day and the top two crews continued to put on an exciting battle for the victory. Rovanperä halved Ogier’s advantage in the morning’s first stage before Ogier recovered that ground in the next test, despite losing the rear wing and tailgate from his car. This was repaired in the final service ahead of the last three stages, which still provided significant challenges with soft sand and deep ruts. Ogier’s final winning margin was just 6.7 seconds: the smallest ever in Safari history, on an event usually decided by whole minutes. Having set the third-best time in the rally-ending Power Stage to take three bonus points, Rovanperä increases his championship lead from 25 to 37 points following the mid-point event of the 13-round season. Evans is now up to third in the standings, 41 from the lead, after he and co-driver Scott Martin made the Safari podium for the second year in a row. They also started Sunday with an advantage of 16.7s, this time over Katsuta and Aaron Johnston, and managed to extend that to 25.3s over the course of the day. Katsuta nonetheless drove another strong Safari with the support of the TGR WRC Challenge Program, putting a roll in Wednesday’s pre-event shakedown behind him to contend for a third successive podium in Kenya and ultimately clinch his best finish of the season so far. Following its fifth win of the year, TGR-WRT has now increased its manufacturers’ championship lead to 42 points. Jari-Matti Latvala (Team Principal)“I’m really proud of this result, of this team, and of our drivers. Coming to Kenya this year I didn’t think we could achieve a 1-2-3-4 again when the competition has been so tight recently. But I think

    Rovanperä increases lead with podium for TOYOTA GAZOO Racing

    June 4, 2023
    TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team driver Kalle Rovanperä has added to his lead in the FIA World Rally Championship with a clever drive to the podium and a Power Stage victory on a tricky Rally Italia Sardegna. Faced with sweeping loose gravel roads on Friday while running first on the road, Rovanperä ran as low as eighth overall before a characteristically strong drive in the rain to win the 50-kilometre Monte Lerno stage lifted he and co-driver Jonne Halttunen to fourth at the end of the day. He was then one of only a few drivers to avoid trouble on an eventful Saturday in more wet weather conditions, gaining third overall while also having to manage the limited number of softer compound tyres made available on what is normally a hot and abrasive rally. Able to conserve rubber through Sunday’s opening tests, Rovanperä then produced a typically attacking drive on a soaking rally-ending Power Stage, setting the best time by 4.7 seconds. Taking the maximum five bonus points to add to his third place overall means he increases his lead in the standings to 25 points. Elfyn Evans ensured there were two GR YARIS Rally1 HYBRID cars in the top four at the finish, recovering strong points together with co-driver Scott Martin after losing time on Saturday morning with damage from a deep watersplash. He set the fourth-best time in the Power Stage, claiming additional points for the manufacturers’ championship which TGR-WRT continues to lead by 23 points. Sébastien Ogier was leading the rally with a strong drive before a series of unfortunate events on Saturday afternoon that culminated in him sliding off the muddy road in SS14. He returned to action on Sunday and took fifth in the Power Stage. Takamoto Katsuta also restarted on Sunday morning in his TGR WRC Challenge Program-supported entry and resumed the good pace he showed on Friday, adding his second stage win of the weekend in the penultimate test and coming third in the Power Stage. Jari-Matti Latvala (Team Principal)“This rally last year was very difficult for the team in terms of our performance, but we came here this year and were looking much stronger and really fighting for the victory. There were many challenges with a lot of rain and slippery conditions which brought quite a bit of drama and unfortunately the weekend didn’t turn out to be as good for us as it maybe could have been. But today in the Power Stage we saw an excellent performance from Kalle to take the win there as well as third place in the rally, which is giving him more nice points for the championship. It’s good too that Elfyn was also able to secure fourth to get some important points for the team, and now we will look forward to the next event in Kenya.” PROVISIONAL FINAL CLASSIFICATION, RALLY ITALIA SARDEGNA1 Thierry Neuville/Martijn Wydaeghe (Hyundai i20 N Rally1 HYBRID) 3h40m01.4s2 Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm (Hyundai i20 N Rally1 HYBRID) +33.0s3 Kalle Rovanperä/Jonne Halttunen

    Rally de Portugal – Round 5 – Rovanperä repeats full Portugal haul with TOYOTA GAZOO Racing

    May 14, 2023
    TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team’s Kalle Rovanperä is back on top of the FIA World Rally Championship after a dominant drive to win the Rally de Portugal for the second year in succession. The victory is the first of the season for reigning world champions Rovanperä and Jonne Halttunen, and moves them to the head of the standings by 17 points after they also won the rally-ending Fafe Power Stage – repeating the maximum score they achieved on the same event one year ago. It is also the fourth time in a row that TGR-WRT has won in Portugal, and the team’s fourth victory from five rounds in 2023. Rovanperä built his result on a strong performance on Friday’s opening day while running second in the road order on the loose gravel stages. He led by 10.8 seconds at the end of the day, and stunning speed on Saturday morning then allowed him to move over 50s clear. On Sunday he recorded his ninth stage win of the weekend in the first pass over the famous fan-favourite Fafe test, before making it 10 when he returned there for the Power Stage – setting the quickest time by 0.717s while sealing the rally victory by 54.7s. Takamoto Katsuta and co-driver Aaron Johnston set the fourth-fastest time in the Power Stage to bank additional points for the manufacturers’ championship, which the team continues to lead by 32 points. Katsuta had to stop on Friday morning with a technical issue but could restart on Saturday and took a stage win of his own in Sunday’s first stage. Jari-Matti Latvala (Team Principal)“We are feeling really happy with this victory here in Portugal. On Friday things were looking quite difficult for us because we lost two cars and only had one left in the fight. But Kalle was driving superbly and in the end it was a dominant victory with a great Power Stage win as well. Even if he hasn’t been winning recently, Kalle’s performances have still been at a high level; there were just some little things missing from the puzzle which he has found here, with confidence in the car and the motivation and hunger to win. When these things came together this weekend, he was unstoppable. I also want to thank Takamoto for getting to the finish after the issue on Friday which meant we couldn’t see his whole potential on this event. Today on the final day he showed what could have been with a great effort in the Power Stage which gives us some extra points for the manufacturers’ championship as well.” PROVISIONAL FINAL CLASSIFICATION, RALLY DE PORTUGAL1 Kalle Rovanperä/Jonne Halttunen (Toyota GR YARIS Rally1 HYBRID) 3h35m11.7s2 Dani Sordo/Cándido Carrera (Hyundai i20 N Rally1 HYBRID) +54.7s3 Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm (Hyundai i20 N Rally1 HYBRID) +1m20.3s4 Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja (Ford Puma Rally1 HYBRID) +2m04.1s5 Thierry Neuville/Martijn Wydaeghe (Hyundai i20 N Rally1 HYBRID) +8m22.5s6 Gus Greensmith/Jonas Andersson (Škoda Fabia RS Rally2) +9m43.4s7 Oliver Solberg/Elliott Edmondson (Škoda Fabia RS Rally2) +9m44.6s8
    0WRC Points
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