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    Round 9 – Acropolis Rally – Epic triumph for Rovanperä and the Toyota Yaris WRC in Greece

    September 15, 2021
    TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team’s Kalle Rovanperä has claimed a second outstanding FIA World Rally Championship victory in three events after conquering the legendary Acropolis Rally in Greece at his first attempt. Sébastien Ogier completed a double podium finish for the Toyota Yaris WRC, strengthening both his and the team’s positions at the head of the championship standings. On the return of the WRC to Greece for the first time since 2013, Rovanperä and Ogier formed part of a top three covered by just 3.9 seconds at the end of Friday. A storming start from Rovanperä and his co-driver Jonne Halttunen, in which they won all four stages in the opening loop, allowed them to make a gap to their opposition, and they led by half a minute going into the final day. Rain brought challenging conditions for the final day, but Rovanperä produced an incredible stage win in the day’s opening Tarzan test, completing it 14.1s faster than anybody else despite having a mixture of hard and soft tyres fitted to his car. Rovanperä then went on to seal the victory in style on the shorter second running of Tarzan with the fastest time in the Power Stage. The Toyota Yaris WRC locked out the top three places in the Power Stage, with Elfyn Evans second fastest and Ogier third. After their closest championship rivals hit trouble on Friday on the notoriously gruelling stages, Ogier and co-driver Julien Ingrassia focussed on securing a valuable podium finish while also keeping the pressure on the crew in second. With his sixth top-three finish of the season, Ogier now leads the drivers’ standings by 44 points with three rounds remaining. Delayed by a technical issue on Friday, Evans and co-driver Scott Martin produced a strong fightback to take sixth overall with their fantastic run through the Power Stage. Evans remains second in the drivers’ standings. Thanks to a fifth double podium result of the year and the bonus points from the Power Stage, the team has increased its manufacturers’ championship lead to 57 points.  Jari-Matti Latvala (Team Principal) “This was a weekend where we didn’t expect to win. I was really happy to see the performance from the start from all of our drivers. Kalle especially showed amazing speed and it was great to see how calm and mature he was the whole weekend. Sébastien once again did a great performance, driving like the champion he is and gaining the points both for his own championship and for the team. Elfyn unfortunately had a problem in the beginning of the rally, but he came back and did an amazing performance in the Power Stage, so I’m really proud of all our drivers.” Press release Toyota GAZOO Racing WRT

    Round 8 – Ypres Rally Belgium – Rovanperä on the podium at Spa for TOYOTA GAZOO Racing

    August 17, 2021
    Kalle Rovanperä claimed a podium finish for the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team at Ypres Rally Belgium following a final-day battle with his team-mates Elfyn Evans and Sébastien Ogier as the event came to a close at the iconic Spa-Francorchamps circuit. In the first Ypres Rally to be held as part of the FIA World Rally Championship, all three of the team’s drivers were very closely matched throughout their debut appearances on the tricky Belgian roads. They ended Saturday covered by just 4.3 seconds in an in-house fight for third overall, with Evans leading Rovanperä and Ogier as they headed to Spa for the final four stages. The final day’s stages were considerably different in character to what had come before, combining twisty public roads in the Ardennes region with access roads around the Spa circuit as well as sections of the racetrack itself. Rovanperä stole a march on the competition in the day’s first stage, where he posted the fastest time to move ahead of Evans and into third. Ogier meanwhile dropped back from his team-mates after sustaining tyre damage. Rovanperä went on to seal third place by 6.5s over Evans and claim an impressive result for himself and co-driver Jonne Halttunen as the leading Ypres debutants. Evans and his co-driver Scott Martin took fourth while Ogier and Julien Ingrassia finished fifth. Ogier was second-fastest on the rally-ending Power Stage (with Rovanperä fourth and Evans fifth) to gain additional points and strengthen his championship lead, which now stands at 38 points over Evans, who is tied on points with the driver in third. Toyota continues to lead the manufacturers’ standings by 41 points. Jari-Matti Latvala (Team Principal) “It was a really close fight between our drivers today and in the end it was Kalle who had great pace and could finish on the podium. He did a strong rally, and that is really nice to see in his first rally back on asphalt after the accident in Croatia. I think all the drivers did a good job this weekend, we just couldn’t fight for the victory because we didn’t have the experience here. On Friday our guys had to learn about the surface and the grip levels and once they had that experience they could match the top times for the rest of the rally, but by then it was a little too late. But we know that we can’t win every rally and still we got important points for the championship this weekend.”   Press release Toyota GAZOO Racing WRT

    Round 7 – Rally Estonia – Record-breaker Rovanperä takes his first win driving Toyota Yaris WRC

    July 18, 2021
    Kalle Rovanperä has become the youngest driver to ever win a round of the FIA World Rally Championship after he and co-driver Jonne Halttunen secured victory on Rally Estonia: the fifth win in a row for the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team. At 20 years and 290 days, Rovanperä claims the record that was previosuly held by the man who is now his Team Principal, Jari-Matti Latvala (who was just over two years older when he won Rally Sweden in 2008). Rovanperä led after all but two of the event’s 24 stages, held over some of the fastest roads in rallying. He took six out of eight stage wins on Friday in a close battle with his nearest rival, who he then pulled away from during Saturday with some stunning stage times. He went into the final day with a lead of 50.7 seconds, which he ultimately extended to almost one minute – 59.9 seconds to be precise – with an expertly-controlled drive through the last six stages. The team’s fifth consecutive win (and sixth from seven rounds so far this year) is the longest-ever WRC winning streak achieved by Toyota in its proud rallying history. All three of the team’s cars finished inside the top five, with Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia coming fourth and Elfyn Evans and Scott Martin taking fifth. In a tricky rally-ending Power Stage, Ogier, Evans and Rovanperä filled positions three to five to claim additional bonus points. Ogier and Evans remain first and second in the drivers’ standings, separated by 37 points, with Rovanperä up to fourth. Toyota retains its 59-point advantage at the top of the manufacturers’ championship.  Jari-Matti Latvala (Team Principal) “It’s an amazing day today, and a record-breaking win in more ways than one. Every victory is special and enjoyable, but for me to see Kalle’s first victory today has a big meaning. I’m so happy to see him become the youngest ever to win a WRC rally and take the record from me: It keeps up the Finnish tradition, after Henri Toivonen held it before me. He did such a fantastic job this weekend. To take our fifth win in a row – a record for Toyota – is also unbelievable. It’s something unique and special that we’ve done in these last events. There is still a long way to go in both championships but I’m so proud of the team and the drivers.” End of day four (Sunday): 1 Kalle Rovanperä/Jonne Halttunen (Toyota Yaris WRC) 2h51m29.1s 2 Craig Breen/Paul Nagle (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +59.9s 3 Thierry Neuville/Martijn Wydaeghe (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +1m12.4s 4 Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (Toyota Yaris WRC) +1m24.0s 5 Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin (Toyota Yaris WRC) +2m07.1s 6 Teemu Suninen/Mikko Markkula (Ford Fiesta WRC) +7m07.3s 7 Pierre-Louis Loubet/Florian Haut-Labourdette (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +8m48.3s 8 Alexey Lukyanuk/Yaroslav Fedorov (Škoda Fabia Rally2 evo) +10m16.1s 9 Andreas Mikkelsen/Ola Fløene (Škoda Fabia Rally2 evo) +10m29.9s 10 Mads Østberg/Torstein Eriksen (Citroën C3 Rally2) +10m46.6s (Results as of 17:00 on

    SAFARI RALLY KENYA – Round 6 – TOYOTA GAZOO Racing claims first and second on Safari return

    June 27, 2021
    The TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team is celebrating victory in the first Safari Rally Kenya to be held as part of the FIA World Rally Championship for nearly 20 years. Sébastien Ogier and co-driver Julien Ingrassia pulled off a superb fightback to take their fourth win from six events and extend their championship lead, while Takamoto Katsuta scored his first ever WRC podium to complete a one-two finish for the Toyota Yaris WRC. The event lived up to its reputation as an extremely demanding rally, with many of the crews experiencing difficulties over the weekend. Ogier was seventh overall and more than two minutes off the lead after suffering an issue on Friday morning, but he charged back through the field. He was third overall going into the final day, consisting of five short but very challenging stages. Already in the first stage of the day, trouble befell the erstwhile leader, and this promoted Katsuta into the lead of a rally for the first time, with Ogier close behind. With just two stages to go the Toyota pair were tied on overall time, and were able to compete fully with each other for the win right until the finish. Ogier claimed his seventh stage win of the weekend to move ahead before the one-two finish – the fourth such result for Toyota this season – was secured in the rally-ending Power Stage. The victory is the ninth claimed by Toyota in the history of the Safari Rally. Taking two additional bonus points in the Power Stage, Ogier’s championship lead is now up to 34 points ahead of team-mate Elfyn Evans, who remains second in the standings. Katsuta’s maiden podium finish is a landmark result for the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WRC Challenge Program, which has helped to develop the Japanese driver’s talent since 2015. All four Toyota Yaris WRC crews finished inside the top 10. Kalle Rovanperä and co-driver Jonne Halttunen were in the battle for the lead on Friday before becoming stuck in deep ruts in the day’s final stage. They could still finish sixth overall, and took second in the Power Stage. Evans and co-driver Scott Martin retired in Friday’s second stage but restarted on Saturday, and on Sunday they climbed back into 10th place overall as well as taking third in the Power Stage. These points mean the team has further increased its lead in the manufacturers’ standings to 59 points at the halfway stage of the season.  Jari-Matti Latvala (Team Principal) “This is a really special day at the end of an amazing weekend. After Friday it was looking tough for us, and now we have a one-two finish on this classic rally, the first for almost 20 years in the WRC. The victory was based on the endurance and the consistency that we showed, as well as the never give-up attitude and the commitment of the team. When Seb had his problem he stayed calm and when he saw the chance he attacked and took

    Rally Italia Sardegna – Round 5 – TOYOTA GAZOO Racing scores a remarkable one-two in Sardinia

    June 6, 2021
    The TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team has claimed an amazing one-two finish on Rally Italia Sardegna, with Sébastien Ogier scoring his third victory from five events so far this season and Elfyn Evans taking second to complete a remarkable result that extends the team’s advantage in the championship. The team’s maiden Sardinia win came after a fast and reliable performance from the Toyota Yaris WRC and its drivers, who were able to overcome their disadvantageous positions at the head of the road order on Friday. Ogier was particularly impressive opening the road on Friday, ending the day in third before climbing into the rally lead on Saturday, when Evans also improved his confidence and speed to rise to second. Ogier and co-driver Julien Ingrassia safely managed their advantage through the final day’s four stages to clinch their fourth Sardinia victory and first since 2015. Evans, co-driven by Scott Martin, started the final day with a strong stage win in SS17 to increase his advantage over third place, and was also fastest in SS19. In the final stage he was slowed after water entered the car in a watersplash, but the buffer he had built earlier meant his second place was secured. With two bonus points for the fourth fastest time in the Power Stage, Ogier now leads the championship by 11 points over Evans, who is in turn 18 points ahead of the driver in third. Taking three bonus points for the third-best time in the Power Stage was Kalle Rovanperä, who together with co-driver Jonne Halttunen had been forced to stop by a technical issue on Friday while running in second position. With the help of their additional points, Toyota now has a 49-point lead in the manufuacturers’ standings. Three Toyota Yaris WRC crews finished inside the top four, with TGR WRC Challenge Program driver Takamoto Katsuta repeating the personal-best finish of fourth he recorded on the previous round in Portugal to continue his recent progress. On the final day Katsuta took a steady approach to secure the result while his co-driver Dan Barritt was feeling unwell as a result of dehydration due to the heat in Sardinia. Barritt was checked and released by doctors after the finish.  Quotes: Jari-Matti Latvala (Team Principal) “This is a fantastic result for our team. We came here to Sardinia knowing that it would not be an easy rally for us, that we would not necessarily be able to win, but in the end we are celebrating a one-two. It was not a perfect weekend because of the problem that Kalle unfortunately had on the first day and we need to learn from this to be stronger in the future, but otherwise the three other cars were working really well on these tough stages. Overall we had performance, we had reliability and we had consistency. It’s very good news for the championship, but we know the competition is getting tougher all the time so we need to keep working if we want
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