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    Rally RACC – Round 12 – TOYOTA GAZOO Racing seals manufacturers’ crown in style with Ogier win

    October 24, 2022
    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.  Jari-Matti Latvala (Team Principal) “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

    Rally New Zealand – Round 11 – Rovanperä crowned youngest ever champion with TOYOTA GAZOO Racing

    October 2, 2022
    Kalle Rovanperä has become the youngest ever winner of an FIA World Rally Championship title* at the age of just 22 years and one day, after the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team driver and his co-driver Jonne Halttunen secured their maiden crowns in style with victory at Rally New Zealand. Taking the title in only his third season competing at rallying’s highest level, Rovanperä is more than five years younger than the previous record holder Colin McRae was when he won the championship in 1995. Rovanperä has been the benchmark driver in the first year of the WRC’s new hybrid Rally1 regulations, and his victory in New Zealand is his sixth of the season in the GR YARIS Rally1 HYBRID. Having led the standings since winning round two in Sweden in February, he has now clinched the title with two rallies remaining. His is the eighth WRC title to be won by a Toyota driver and the fourth in as many years. Rovanperä is the first Finnish driver to win the championship for 20 years and the first to do so driving a car built in Finland. Outstanding speed in difficult weather conditions has been a key attribute to Rovanperä’s driving in 2022 and was also central to his victory in New Zealand, where the smooth gravel roads were hosting the WRC for the first time in a decade. After finishing the longest day of the rally on Friday in mixed conditions in fourth overall, he excelled on a soaking wet Saturday on his 22nd birthday to take over the lead and build an advantage of almost half a minute. Sunday brought further wet weather for the final four stages but Rovanperä managed his lead ahead of the rally-ending Power Stage. Only a top-four time there was needed to secure the two extra bonus points he required for the championship, but he nonetheless recorded the fastest time – the seventh occasion he has topped the Power Stage this season. The outgoing champion Sébastien Ogier completed a one-two finish for the team together with co-driver Benjamin Veillas on their fourth start of the 2022 campaign. Part of a close four-way fight for the lead earlier in the rally, they played an important role for their team-mates by taking points away from their championship rivals. The one-two finish overall, plus the first and third fastest times from the Power Stage, ensures that the team increases its manufacturers’ championship lead to 81 points with 104 left available. Jari-Matti Latvala (Team Principal) “The emotions are very high right now. For Kalle to have won this championship is really significant. First of all, it’s amazing that a guy who just turned 22 yesterday can achieve something like this, breaking all the records in our sport and winning the World Rally Championship title. Secondly I know that it’s something very important for Finland, because 20 years is a long time for us! I came close myself as did others, so I’m really grateful that Kalle

    ACROPOLIS RALLY – ROUND 10 – TOYOTA GAZOO Racing concludes a rocky Acropolis weekend

    September 12, 2022
    The TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team has completed a very challenging weekend at the Acropolis Rally Greece without the overall results it desired but with some important points secured to maintain its advantage in the drivers’ and manufacturers’ championships. In its second running since returning to the FIA World Rally Championship calendar, the Acropolis lived up to its reputation with slippery and rocky roads and high temperatures providing a considerable challenge. For much of the weekend, the team was in contention for a podium position but those hopes ended early on the final morning when Elfyn Evans had to retire from fourth place after an engine-related issue on the road section to SS14. With this, the team’s focus moved to the rally-ending Power Stage. Here, Kalle Rovanperä managed to set the second-fastest time to claim four bonus points. The championship leader experienced a trying weekend after sweeping the loose gravel roads on Friday before losing around 15 minutes on Saturday morning after damaging his car. However, his Power Stage drive ensures he still leads the drivers’ championship by 53 points with three rounds remaining. Esapekka Lappi was running in second place on Saturday before he was slowed and forced to stop by a technical issue. Restarting on Sunday, he set the fifth-best time on the Power Stage. With the points scored by Rovanperä and Lappi for reaching the finish combined with those they claimed on the Power Stage, the team remains in the lead of the manufacturers’ championship by 63 points. Takamoto Katsuta was the highest-finishing GR YARIS Rally1 HYBRID driver, completing his Acropolis Rally debut in sixth overall to maintain his unbroken scoring run in 2022 with TGR WRT Next Generation. Quotes: Jari-Matti Latvala (Team Principal) “It has been a very difficult weekend for us and our overall results at the finish are not good. There has been a combination of many factors contributing to those results and we have to learn from this weekend about why things went wrong and we must improve for the future. Elfyn’s retirement this morning was a particularly disappointing way to start the final day and we are already investigating what happened. The good thing is that we got Kalle and Esapekka both to the finish with some really helpful points towards the manufacturers’ championship plus five more from the Power Stage, and Kalle especially did a really good drive there to take four points for his own championship. We still have a good lead and now we need to look positively towards Rally New Zealand.” PROVISIONAL FINAL CLASSIFICATION, ACROPOLIS RALLY GREECE 1 Thierry Neuville/Martijn Wydaeghe (Hyundai i20 N Rally1 HYBRID) 3h34m52.0s 2 Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja (Hyundai i20 N Rally1 HYBRID) +15.0s 3 Dani Sordo/Cándido Carrera (Hyundai i20 N Rally1 HYBRID) +1m49.7s 4 Pierre-Louis Loubet/Vincent Landais (Ford Puma Rally1 HYBRID) +3m42.2s 5 Craig Breen/Paul Nagle (Ford Puma Rally1 HYBRID) +4m09.0s 6 Takamoto Katsuta/Aaron Johnston (Toyota GR YARIS Rally1 HYBRID) +6m21.1s 7 Emil Lindholm/Reeta Hämäläinen (Škoda Fabia Rally2 evo) +7m46.6s 8 Nikolay Gryazin/Konstantin

    Ypres Rally Belgium – Round 9 – Another double podium for TOYOTA GAZOO Racing

    August 21, 2022
    The TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team has scored another double podium finish at Ypres Rally Belgium as Elfyn Evans finished just five seconds away from victory in second position with Esapekka Lappi in third. In their second time hosting a round of the FIA World Rally Championship, the farmland roads of the West Flanders region again lived up to their historic reputation as one of rallying’s most demanding asphalt tests with frequent surface changes and little margin for error. Kalle Rovanperä was one of many drivers to be caught out when he rolled on Friday morning’s second stage: a first significant setback in what has been an outstanding season so far from the young Finn. An extensive rebuild of his car by the team’s technicians allowed Rovanperä and co-driver Jonne Halttunen to return under restart rules the next day and target points in the rally-ending Power Stage over the famous cobbled climb of the Kemmelberg. There they set the fastest time to leave Belgium with their championship lead still a commanding one at 72 points with four rounds remaining. Evans and his co-driver Scott Martin took over the lead when Rovanperä dropped out, but a slow puncture that compromised their tyre strategy and a 10-second penalty for arriving late to one stage meant they ended Friday third overall and 13.7 seconds from the lead. Having fought back on Saturday and gained second overall, Evans continued to close the gap to the leader Ott Tänak with two stage wins on the final morning, but just fell short in the end. Lappi and co-driver Janne Ferm scored their third podium from six starts and second in as many weeks with a superbly consistent and clean weekend on a rally where their only previous experience came eight years ago, having already had top-four pace from the start. The result ensures TGR still has a strong lead of 88 points in the manufacturers’ championship. Takamoto Katsuta recovered from an issue on Friday morning to finish fifth in his TGR WRT Next Generation entry with co-driver Aaron Johnston, and is now the only driver to have finished every rally in the top 10 this season. The public debut of the innovative GR Yaris H2 concept took place on the stages in Belgium, and was completed by Toyota rally legend Juha Kankkunen driving the Power Stage ahead of the competitive field in the hydrogen-fuelled car, running on Pirelli tyres. After driving the GR Yaris H2 himself on Saturday, Team Founder Akio Toyoda had the chance to ride alongside Kankkunen on the most varied stage of the weekend before greeting his drivers at the podium. Jari-Matti Latvala (Team Principal) “To have two cars on the podium is a good result at the end of the weekend. We had the speed here, we were more competitive than last year and the car was performing well, it’s just that a few things didn’t go our way. Elfyn has been getting closer to that victory, it was a good

    Rally Finland – Round 8 – Rovanperä extends WRC lead with rapid home run for TOYOTA GAZOO Racing

    August 8, 2022
    TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team’s Kalle Rovanperä has further extended his FIA World Rally Championship lead with a well-calculated drive to second place on a ferociously fast Rally Finland, as team-mate and fellow Finn Esapekka Lappi survived remarkable late drama to join him on the podium at their home rally. Tasked with sweeping the gravel roads around their hometown of Jyväskylä, Rovanperä and co-driver Jonne Halttunen ended Friday 21 seconds from the lead and fourth overall on a rally known for high speeds and narrow margins. Willed on by the local support in the spiritual home of rallying, Rovanperä was then rapid through the longest day of the rally on Saturday and fastest in six out of eight stages to climb to second overall and slash the gap to the leader to 8.4s. He thus went into the final day still eyeing a famous home win, but was not in a position to risk everything while on course to strengthen his grip on the championship and ultimately had to settle for second place, only 6.8s behind Ott Tänak. He did however take the maximum five bonus points for the fastest time in the rally-ending Power Stage, which increases his advantage to 94 points with five rallies remaining. The first Rally Finland for the new generation of hybrid Rally1 cars was the fourth-fastest WRC round of all time, and the incredibly close lead fight required drivers to have good confidence in their cars despite limited testing on such roads. The GR YARIS Rally1 HYBRID recorded the quickest time in 15 of the 22 stages. Lappi led the Toyota charge through Friday and much of Saturday, before a freak incident with a rock that deflected up and damaged his windscreen, hampering visibility. He was to encounter further drama in the penultimate stage of the rally, which was heavily rutted. One such rut on the exit of a corner caused him to roll over three times. He was able to complete the stage while losing only 20 seconds and remaining third overall, but he and co-driver Janne Ferm had to carry out roadside repairs including removing the car’s windscreen and topping up a radiator. Incredibly, despite the obvious damage, they lost only 10 further seconds in the final stage to hold onto third by a relatively comfortable 16.9s and score their second podium of the season. Like his team-mates, Elfyn Evans was also part of the thrilling lead battle for much of the weekend before having to make repairs of his own after damaging his suspension on Saturday afternoon. He and co-driver Scott Martin still finished fourth overall and took third in the Power Stage: Points that ensure TGR increased its manufacturers’ championship lead by one point to 88. Takamoto Katsuta and co-driver Aaron Johnston ensured there were four GR YARIS Rally1 HYBRIDs inside the top six for almost the entire rally. By finishing sixth they continue their unbroken 2022 scoring run for TGR WRT Next Generation after Katsuta’s strongest performance yet
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