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 for both of them.”
PROVISIONAL FINAL CLASSIFICATION, RALLY FINLAND
1 Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin (Toyota GR YARIS Rally1 HYBRID) 2h33m11.3s
2 Thierry Neuville/Martijn Wydaeghe (Hyundai i20 N Rally1 HYBRID) +39.1s
3 Takamoto Katsuta/Aaron Johnston (Toyota GR YARIS Rally1 HYBRID) +1m36.7s
4 Teemu Suninen/Mikko Markkula (Hyundai i20 N Rally1 HYBRID) +1m41.0s
5 Jari-Matti Latvala/Juho Hänninen (Toyota GR YARIS Rally1 HYBRID) +4m09.4s
6 Oliver Solberg/Elliott Edmondson (Škoda Fabia RS Rally2) +9m33.6s
7 Sami Pajari/Enni Mälkönen (Škoda Fabia RS Rally2) +10m03.7s
8 Adrien Fourmaux/Alexandre Coria (Ford Fiesta Rally2) +10m37.5s
9 Nikolay Gryazin/Konstantin Aleksandrov (Škoda Fabia RS Rally2) +11m11.5s
10 Andreas Mikkelsen/Torstein Eriksen (Škoda Fabia RS Rally2) +11m35.2s
(Results as of 14:30 on Sunday, for the latest results please visit www.wrc.com)
The Acropolis Rally in Greece (September 7-10) has a legendary reputation for rocky mountain roads and high temperatures which combine to create a tough challenge for cars, tyres and drivers alike.
Press release Toyota GAZOO Racing WRT