The TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team has completed an FIA World Rally Championship treble in style by clinching the 2022 manufacturers’ title* with a superb win for Sébastien Ogier at Rally de España.
The manufacturers’ championship success follows the drivers’ and co-drivers’ titles that were won by Kalle Rovanperä and Jonne Halttunen on the previous rally in New Zealand. It’s the second year in a row that the team has managed a clean sweep of the three available titles: An especially notable achievement given that it spans a major revolution in the technical regulations introduced at the start of this season when the all-new GR YARIS Rally1 HYBRID succeeded the Yaris WRC.
In total, this is the sixth occasion that Toyota has topped the WRC’s manufacturers’ classification, the third time since it returned to the series in 2017.
The rally win in Spain is the team’s seventh of the season and a first for the outgoing eight-time champion Ogier in his part-time campaign. The 55th victory of his career is also a maiden triumph for co-driver Benjamin Veillas.
In his first asphalt rally since January’s Rallye Monte-Carlo, Ogier was among the pacesetters from the start, winning three stages on Friday to lead despite having to deal with dirtier roads than his rivals in mixed weather conditions. He took three more stage wins in a commanding performance on Saturday as he pulled away from the pack, and went on to win the last two stages of the rally on Sunday – including the final Power Stage – as he clinched victory by 16.4 seconds.
Rovanperä was also in the battle for the lead on Friday when he was fastest in four stages, and eventually finished in third position overall. His hopes of second place faded after he was one of several to sustain tyre damage over a drain cover in Sunday’s second stage.
Elfyn Evans was part of a close-fought top five at the beginning of the rally but was unable to find the perfect feeling to match the rapid pace at the front. A flat tyre on Friday afternoon and another at the same place as Rovanperä on SS17 contributed to him finishing sixth overall – still an important result to help the team towards its main goal.
One place further behind in seventh was Takamoto Katsuta who recovered from a difficult start to show strong and consistent speed in his TGR WRT Next Generation entry.
“I am really proud of this team and what we have achieved this season winning these three championships. As Kalle said at the end of the final stage, we have such a talented group of people. That’s the first thing. Secondly, the people have the passion and the desire to win. Finally and most importantly, everybody is working together. When you have all these ingredients, the results will follow. Seb showed this weekend why he has won so many championships himself: He has this little bit extra that champions have and which puts them a level above the rest. Kalle also did a very mature drive to give us a double podium. It’s great to have secured this third title here in Spain and now we can go to a home rally in Japan a bit more relaxed and hopefully have even more to celebrate there.”
PROVISIONAL FINAL CLASSIFICATION, RALLY DE ESPAÑA
1 Sébastien Ogier/Benjamin Veillas (Toyota GR YARIS Rally1 HYBRID) 2h44m43.9s
2 Thierry Neuville/Martijn Wydaeghe (Hyundai i20 N Rally1 HYBRID) +16.4s
3 Kalle Rovanperä/Jonne Halttunen (Toyota GR YARIS Rally1 HYBRID) +34.5s
4 Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja (Hyundai i20 N Rally1 HYBRID) +44.0s
5 Dani Sordo/Cándido Carrera (Hyundai i20 N Rally1 HYBRID) +1m21.5s
6 Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin (Toyota GR YARIS Rally1 HYBRID) +1m51.1s
7 Takamoto Katsuta/Aaron Johnston (Toyota GR YARIS Rally1 HYBRID) +2m19.1s
8 Adrien Fourmaux/Alexandre Coria (Ford Puma Rally1 HYBRID) +2m38.4s
9 Craig Breen/Paul Nagle (Ford Puma Rally1 HYBRID) +2m43.0s
10 Pierre-Louis Loubet/Vincent Landais (Ford Puma Rally1 HYBRID) +3m25.1s
(Results as of 14:30 on Sunday, for the latest results please visit www.wrc.com)
World Rally Championship manufacturers’ titles won by Toyota:
1993 – Toyota Celica GT-Four ST185
1994 – Toyota Celica GT-Four ST185
1999 – Toyota Corolla WRC
2018 – Toyota Yaris WRC
2021 – Toyota Yaris WRC
2022 – Toyota GR YARIS Rally1 HYBRID*
* Subject to the official publication of the results by the FIA
The 2022 season will conclude at Rally Japan on November 10-13 as the WRC returns to the country for the first time since 2010. The event will be staged on demanding asphalt roads in the mountains of the Aichi and Gifu prefectures, with the service park in Toyota City near Nagoya.