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    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

    Rally Croatia – Round 4 – Evans returns to the top step with TOYOTA GAZOO Racing

    April 23, 2023
    Elfyn Evans and Scott Martin have returned to the top step of the podium with TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team, taking victory at the Croatia Rally. Together with their fellow podium finishers, Evans and Martin dedicated the result to their friend and fellow competitor Craig Breen, who tragically lost his life in the build-up to the event. Martin was previously co-driver to Breen between 2014 and 2018, claiming their first WRC podiums together. A well-managed drive enabled Evans and Martin to claim their fifth win with TGR-WRT and their first since Rally Finland in 2021. The asphalt stages around Zagreb proved to be challenging once again, with frequent surface changes and a lot of mud and gravel being dragged onto the road, but Evans was able to find the right balance between caution and speed. After gaining the lead on Saturday morning, he could increase his advantage in tricky conditions in the evening to 25.4 seconds, and extended that margin over half a minute in the first of Sunday’s four tests. This allowed a more cautious approach to the final stages, with a winning margin of 27s. Team-mates Kalle Rovanperä and Sébastien Ogier completed the top five, recovering after hitting trouble in the same place on Friday’s second stage when heavy impacts in a compression in the road forced them to stop and change a wheel. Both showed strong pace thereafter while competing closely with each other for position. Rovanperä and co-driver Jonne Halttunen won six stages in total to finish fourth, with Ogier and navigator Vincent Landais setting seven fastest times across the weekend as they took fifth. Rovanperä and Ogier took second and third respectively in the rally-ending Power Stage. Ogier and Evans are now joint leaders of the drivers’ championship, one point ahead of Rovanperä. As a mark of solidarity ahead of this event, only two drivers per team were nominated as eligible to score manufacturers’ championship points. With the results of Rovanperä and Ogier taken into account, TGR-WRT has a lead of 29 points. Takamoto Katsuta rounded out the top six finishers in his GR YARIS Rally1 HYBRID supported by the TGR WRC Challenge Program. Jari-Matti Latvala (Team Principal)“It has been a hard week for the rally community and the most important thing here was to have a safe rally and a good competition as Craig would have wanted. Personally, I feel that Elfyn and Scott were a great pairing to win this event in these circumstances. They were friends with Craig, and Scott was previously a co-driver of Craig and they reached their first podium together. It was not easy for them to come to this event but they did a fantastic job and they deserve the victory: I think that it means a lot to them to win again. It was also nice to have Kalle and Seb bringing some good points for the team after their problems on Friday.” PROVISIONAL FINAL CLASSIFICATION, CROATIA RALLY1 Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin (Toyota GR YARIS Rally1 HYBRID)

    Rally Mexico – Round 3 – Another record win for Ogier aboard the GR YARIS Rally1 HYBRID

    March 19, 2023
    TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team has scored a superb victory and double podium finish on the return of Rally México, as Sébastien Ogier became the undisputed master of the demanding gravel event with a record seventh win. In what was the FIA World Rally Championship’s first trip to the high-altitude stages in the mountains above León since 2020, and therefore the first of the Rally1 era, the GR YARIS Rally1 HYBRID performed strongly to lock out three of the top four positions in a thrilling conclusion, with Elfyn Evans finishing third and Kalle Rovanperä fourth. Having led from the first stage of Saturday morning, Ogier and co-driver Vincent Landais came into Sunday’s finale with a lead of 35.8 seconds, a cushion that allowed them to take a safe approach to the morning’s stages – which included the longest of the weekend, the 35.63 kilometre-long Otates. Ogier then delivered an incredible performance to seal the victory with the fastest time on the rally-ending Power Stage, securing a maximum score that puts him top of the championship standings by three points – even though he has only contested two of the three events held so far. This latest record broken by Ogier (who had claimed TGR-WRT’s first Mexico win three years ago) comes after he also set a new benchmark for the number of wins on Rallye Monte-Carlo with his ninth triumph in January. It also continues the great start to his collaboration with Landais, who was competing in Mexico for the first time. The team came agonisingly close to securing a one-two finish, with Evans missing out on second place by just 0.4 seconds on the final stage to Thierry Neuville (Hyundai). Evans and co-driver Scott Martin began the day well, beating their rivals to the fastest time in Otates to strengthen their grip on second. After sustaining suspension damage they carried out roadside repairs that allowed them to keep up the fight, but they would ultimately have to settle for the third step of the podium after a battling drive. Rovanperä and Halttunen took away more strong points for their championship defence in fourth place, having ended Friday already a minute off the lead after having to effectively clean a path through the loose gravel stages. Rovanperä pushed hard in the Power Stage in search of bonus points, and set the fourth-fastest time after a wide moment damaged the rear wing of his car. He is now third in the standings, four points behind Ogier. Takamoto Katsuta reached the finish of his first ever Rally Mexico, driving a fourth GR YARIS Rally1 HYBRID with the support of the TGR WRC Challenge Program. He and co-driver Aaron Johnston returned to action under restart rules on Saturday after a spin had taken them off the road on Friday. Jari-Matti Latvala (Team Principal)“This is an amazing result for us. Last year we were quite far from the pace on hot and rough gravel rallies like this one, and everybody had some doubts

    Rally Sweden – Round 2 – TOYOTA GAZOORacing fourth and fifth after a close snow fight

    February 12, 2023
    TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team continues to lead the manufacturers’ standings after round two of the FIA World Rally Championship season at Rally Sweden, despite narrowly missing out on a podium finish following a closely-fought weekend on snow and ice. Kalle Rovanperä finished in fourth position, just 5.1 seconds from third, after fighting hard until the very last stage. Warmer conditions meant that last year’s Rally Sweden winner was at a greater disadvantage this time running first on the road on Friday, but he fought back well to begin the final day only 3.8s away from a podium position. That gap was further reduced to 1.1s thanks to a stage win in Sunday’s opening test, but rival Thierry Neuville (Hyundai) responded on the next stage and managed to hold on to the place. With an extra three bonus points for the third-fastest time on the rally-ending Power Stage, Rovanperä remains second in the drivers’ championship, only three points behind leader Ott Tänak (M-Sport Ford). Elfyn Evans finished one position behind Rovanperä in fifth overall, after working during the rally to improve his feeling with the car in the tricky conditions. This culminated in the second-best time in the Power Stage, just 0.6 seconds from the fastest time and 0.015s quicker than Rovanperä, which keeps him fourth in the championship. The extra points from the Power Stage mean that TGR-WRT remains in the lead of the manufacturers’ championship by 14 points. Rally Sweden was the debut for Takamoto Katsuta as part of the team’s three-car manufacturer line-up and the Japanese driver performed impressively on Friday morning when he was involved in the lead fight and won a stage. Having been caught out in the afternoon by the snowbanks that line the stages and rolling his car, Katsuta restarted on Saturday and gained valuable new experience opening the road on snow. No longer in contention for a points finish, his car was retired prior to Sunday’s final stage after he had reported an issue in the previous test. There was another first for TGR-WRT this weekend with Lorenzo Bertelli becoming the first customer driver to compete behind the wheel of the GR YARIS Rally1 HYBRID. The Italian, always a popular and enthusiastic presence during his occasional WRC appearances, enjoyed the experience of driving the car on one of his favourite rallies, completing every stage and reaching the finish in 14th place. Jari-Matti Latvala (Team Principal)“This was certainly a rally that we were hoping to get something more from, given that it has usually been a strong event for us in the past. We suffered a bit on the first day when the conditions were not ideal for our road positions and those starting further back were able to attack and build a gap. We tried to fight back and speed-wise I think we saw some positive signs but things just didn’t quite click for us in the end. We have seen a great fight here between all of the teams and

    Ogier claims ninth Monte win in TOYOTA GAZOO Racing one-two

    January 26, 2023
    TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team has started the 2023 FIA World Rally Championship with a one-two finish on Rallye Monte-Carlo as Sébastien Ogier claimed a record ninth victory on the legendary event ahead of team-mate Kalle Rovanperä. Mostly dry weather made this year’s rally more a test of outright performance than usual, and Ogier set the pace from the start with five straight stage wins as he opened up a lead of half a minute by Friday lunchtime. The GR YARIS Rally1 HYBRID was fastest in the first 11 stages of the season, its streak only ended on Saturday afternoon – by which point Ogier was focused on managing his lead. He carried an advantage of 16 seconds over Rovanperä into the final day, when he proceeded to claim his eighth and ninth stage wins of the weekend and finished up with a winning margin of 18.8s. Ogier’s 56th WRC win is also the first for his co-driver Vincent Landais, in only the second event since he began working with the up-and-coming French navigator at the end of last season. It is also Toyota’s fifth Monte win with a fifth different model of car: the GR YARIS Rally1 HYBRID winning all but two of the 18 stages across the weekend. With Ogier once more only contesting selected events this season, second place plus victory in the rally-ending Power Stage represents an ideal start to Rovanperä and co-driver Jonne Halttunen’s defence of their first championship titles. Rovanperä grew in confidence and speed during the rally, taking six stage wins in total on his way to a first Rallye Monte-Carlo podium. Elfyn Evans displayed similarly strong pace to his team-mates throughout the weekend and was second to Ogier before losing around 40s with a damaged tyre in SS5 on Friday morning. He and co-driver Scott Martin fought back to finish fourth, 27.8s from the podium despite a brief spin on Sunday morning. He was also third in the Power Stage to claim three additional bonus points. The strong start to the season for TGR was completed by Takamoto Katsuta in his WRC Challenge Program-supported entry. He produced his strongest Rallye Monte-Carlo performance to-date alongside co-driver Aaron Johnston, frequently joining his team-mates in the top-four on stage times and finishing sixth overall. Jari-Matti Latvala (Team Principal)“We are very delighted with this result, it’s an amazing way to start the season. We were expecting tough competition this year and we were not sure how this rally would go, but all of the work that everybody in the team has put in has really paid off. Coming here to Monte Carlo I knew Sébastien was very motivated after coming so close to victory last year. You could see that hunger in his eyes from the start on Thursday night and after that he did a perfect drive. At the same time I’m also very happy to see the great pace of Kalle, of Elfyn and of Takamoto. Kalle improved step-by-step for his first Monte
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