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    Rally de Portugal – Round 4 – Rovanperä and Evans seal one-two finish for the GR YARIS Rally1

    May 22, 2022
    The TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team is celebrating a fantastic one-two finish for the GR YARIS Rally1 car on its gravel debut at the Rally de Portugal, with Kalle Rovanperä scoring his third win in a row just ahead of team-mate Elfyn Evans. In the first test of the new generation of hybrid-powered cars, the GR YARIS Rally1 was the car to beat, winning 15 of the 19 gravel stages across the weekend. Evans led the way from early on Friday morning with consistently strong stage times, and Rovanperä joined him in the top two at the end of the first full day after doing a fantastic job opening gravel roads as championship leader for the first time in his career. The pair were in a league of their own through the longest day of the event on Saturday, and the lead moved into Rovanperä’s hands in difficult mixed weather conditions during the afternoon. Rovanperä led Evans by 5.7 seconds coming into the final day of five stages and won the morning’s opening test, only for Evans to respond in the first pass over the rally’s famous Fafe stage. But Rovanperä and co-driver Jonne Halttunen went on to win the penultimate stage as well as the rally-ending Power Stage, ensuring another maximum points haul to increase their championship lead to 46 points after wins in three of the first four events. Evans and co-driver Scott Martin finished 15.2s away from the victory as they returned to the podium for the first time this season, having driven consistently well through the difficult conditions all weekend and won six stages along the way. TGR WRC Challenge Program driver Takamoto Katsuta narrowly missed out on the second podium of his top-level career after a brilliant drive. He started the day in third place and defended it excellently against the experienced Dani Sordo until a final-stage push put his rival ahead by just 2.1s. Fourth is still a fine result that scores Katsuta and co-driver Aaron Johnston more important points in their TGR WRT Next Generation entry and moves them up to third in the championship. After being forced to retire from Friday and Saturday’s legs, Sébastien Ogier restarted on the final day to gain further experience with the GR YARIS Rally1 on his second appearance of the season.  Jari-Matti Latvala (Team Principal) “This is a fantastic result for us in the first gravel rally with the GR YARIS Rally1. I am so happy and proud of the team because they have built such a fast and reliable car which has allowed our drivers to perform the way that they have this weekend. Kalle won it completely against our expectations at the start of the event. It’s incredible how quickly he has grown and how he is able to deal with the pressure when he’s leading. Elfyn also did a really good rally, it was another one of those great and clean drives from him. He was so close to the victory, but

    Rally Croatia – Round 3 – Epic final-stage win for Rovanperä and the GR YARIS Rally1

    April 24, 2022
    Kalle Rovanperä has claimed a sensational victory for TOYOTA GAZOO RacingWorld Rally Team in a thrilling finish to the Croatia Rally, extending his FIA World Rally Championship lead in epic style. On a rally where he lacked knowledge of the stages after crashing out early on the event’s WRC debut in 2021, Rovanperä was in superb form throughout the weekend together with co-driver Jonne Halttunen. On a heavily rain-affected Friday he made the most of his position at the head of the road order to win six of the eight stages and open up an advantage of more than a minute over his rivals. Much of this margin was lost on Saturday morning when he suffered a damaged tyre, but he fought back well with a stage win at the end of the day to take a lead of almost 20 seconds into the deciding leg. He continued that performance into Sunday’s first stage to extend his lead by more than 10s. The weather brought a further twist in the tail, however, with a sudden downpour of rain impacting the penultimate stage. With two rain tyres and two hard compound tyres, Rovanperä was disadvantaged in the extremely slippery conditions against those who had soft tyres, and conceded the overall lead by just 1.4s to Ott Tänak. This set up a thrilling showdown for the rally-ending Power Stage, where conditions were dry and sunny – albeit with plenty of mud dragged onto the road as had been the case across all of the stages. Again on a combination of rain and hard tyres, Rovanperä produced a stunning run, 5.6s quicker than Tänak and 21.8s faster than anybody else to secure his second successive victory and a maximum points haul. That increases his championship lead after three rounds to 29 points. It is the 21-year-old’s fourth career WRC win – all in the space of nine events – and his first on asphalt. Elfyn Evans already dropped around two minutes on Friday morning when he finished two stages with a tyre off the rim. After two stage wins he finished fifth overall and third in the Power Stage, scoring some important points towards both championships as he looks to move forward from a difficult start to his season. The team now leads the manufacturers’ standings by 42 points. Esapekka Lappi missed most of the first day after hitting a large rock on the opening stage and damaging his car’s suspension. Once he restarted on Saturday he showed impressive speed in his first asphalt event in the GR YARIS Rally1, taking a fourth stage win of the weekend in Sunday’s first test. Between its three crews, the team won 14 of the 19 stages across the event, confirming the strong performance of the new-for-2022 GR YARIS Rally1. TGR WRC Challenge Program driver Takamoto Katsuta finished one place behind Evans in sixth, once again scoring points for TGR WRT Next Generation.  Jari-Matti Latvala (Team Principal) “This was an incredible performance from Kalle today. I

    Rally Sweden – Round 2 – First and third for TOYOTA GAZOO Racing’s flying Finns on snow

    February 28, 2022
    The TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team is celebrating the first win for its new GR YARIS Rally1 car after Kalle Rovanperä secured victory on Rally Sweden, round two of the 2022 FIA World Rally Championship. Rovanperä’s fellow Finnish driver Esapekka Lappi finished third to complete a double podium finish for the team on his first start for TGR since 2018. For most of the rally, all three of the team’s drivers were part of a close fight for victory on the unfamiliar, high-speed, snow-covered roads around the event’s new base in Umeå. Rovanperä was disadvantaged on Friday by having to run first on the road as the highest-placed driver in the championship, but concluded Satuday leading team-mate Elfyn Evans by 8.3 seconds. Evans was penalised 10s overnight after an incident at the end of Saturday’s final stage, but his hopes of victory were ended in Sunday’s opener. Having started with the centrally-supplied hybrid system deactivated due to an issue, Evans then had a spin in the stage and damaged the front of the car. After stopping to make repairs he reached the end of the stage but, with the hybrid unit not showing the green light as required, was forced to retire in accordance with FIA safety procedures. Rovanperä won the first of Sunday’s four stages as he added to his lead, even though he was also carrying a hybrid issue, and finished 22s clear as he and co-driver Jonne Halttunen secured the third win of their WRC career. By winning Rally Sweden, Rovanperä emulates his father Harri who achieved victory on the event in 2001. He has also moved into the drivers’ championship lead by 14 points. Lappi was in a close fight for second position throughout Sunday, ultimately finishing just 8.6s away as he and co-driver Janne Ferm completed a fantastic comeback weekend with the team. TOYOTA GAZOO Racing has also taken the lead of the manufacturers’ championship with an advantage of 24 points. Three GR YARIS Rally1 cars finished in the top four places overall, with Takamoto Katsuta and co-driver Aaron Johnston finishing in a fine fourth position and scoring good points for TGR WRT Next Generation. Jari-Matti Latvala (Team Principal) “Kalle did an incredible job to win this rally. At the start of the weekend I was a bit nervous how he would manage being the first car on the road, but he handled it very well and later in the rally the speed he had was really impressive. Thanks to him for delivering our first victory with the GR YARIS Rally1 and to the whole team for their hard work to make it happen. What happened to Elfyn this morning was very unfortunate for him. But having Esapekka also on the podium in his first rally back helped us score some very important points, while Takamoto also did a great rally too.” PROVISIONAL FINAL CLASSIFICATION, RALLY SWEDEN 1 Kalle Rovanperä/Jonne Halttunen (Toyota GR YARIS Rally1) 2h10m44.9s 2 Thierry Neuville/Martijn Wydaeghe (Hyundai i20 N Rally1)

    Rallye Monte-Carlo – Round 1 – Strong debut for the GR YARIS Rally1 with second place for Ogier

    January 23, 2022
    The TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team has completed a strong debut event for the new GR YARIS Rally1 with Sébastien Ogier claiming second overall and Kalle Rovanperä finishing fourth at Rallye Monte-Carlo. Ogier had been on course to claim a record-extending ninth win on the famous event before a cruel late twist in the thrilling weekend-long battle for the victory, suffering a flat front-left tyre on the penultimate stage of the rally. The time lost turned his lead of 24.6 seconds into a deficit of 9.5s. Along with new co-driver Benjamin Veillas, Ogier gave his all in the final stage and, having been handed a 10-second penalty for a jump start, finished just 10.5s from the win. Fourth was an impressive result for Rovanperä and his co-driver Jonne Halttunen, who made huge strides forward in pace and confidence in their new car from Saturday onwards. In all they claimed three stage wins, including on the rally-ending Power Stage. The five bonus points put Rovanperä third in the championship as the leading full-season contender, with Ogier to contest selected events this year after stepping away from full-time competition. Elfyn Evans was also in the battle for the lead until he went off the road on Saturday’s SS11 and lost 20 minutes. On the final day he set his sights on scoring bonus points in the Power Stage and completed a one-two in the stage for the GR YARIS Rally1. All three of the team’s drivers claimed stage wins over the weekend and the car was fastest on nine of the 17 stages. It demonstrated both impressive performance and reliability despite the challenges of the new Rally1 regulations, which included the introduction of hybrid power to rallying’s top level for the first time. In Monaco to join the team and witness the GR YARIS Rally1’s successful debut was Kazuki Nakajima, the recently-appointed Vice Chairman of TOYOTA GAZOO Racing Europe. TGR WRC Challenge Program driver Takamoto Katsuta recorded his third consecutive Rallye Monte-Carlo finish in the top category and claimed eighth place overall, setting a pair of top-three stage times on the final day and scoring the first points for the newly-established TGR WRT Next Generation.  Jari-Matti Latvala (Team Principal) “For sure there is some disappointment in this moment because we were so close to winning, but this is motorsport sometimes and we have to accept it. The most important thing is that we know we have a car that is capable of winning and a car which is reliable and this gives us the strength to look to the future and the rest of the season. Seb did a really good job and unfortunately he just didn’t have luck on his side today. Kalle has improved so much from the beginning of the rally and he did a really great Power Stage today. Elfyn also showed great performance here, just with a small mistake yesterday, but he also did a good drive in the Power Stage which helps us in the

    Ogier, Ingrassia and TOYOTA GAZOO Racing crowned 2021 champions

    November 21, 2021
    The TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team has acheived a magnificent championship treble* at the iconic Monza circuit, clinching the manufacturers’ title with a one-two finish at the final round as Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia claimed their eighth drivers’ and co-drivers’ crowns in style with victory. Ogier and Ingrassia went up against their team-mates Elfyn Evans and Scott Martin in the final-round showdown at Monza and the two crews engaged in an epic battle for victory throughout the weekend, swapping the lead between them six times. They came into the final day of three tricky stages around Monza separated by just half a second – and then set identical times on the morning’s opening test. A stall for Evans in the penultimate stage ultimately decided the rally victory in the favour of Ogier, who knew a podium finish would be enough to secure the title. The win was the fifth of the season for Ogier and Ingrassia after victories in Monte Carlo, Croatia, Sardinia and Kenya. It was their 54th WRC win together in what was the final event of their full-time careers: Ogier will contest a part-time schedule with TOYOTA GAZOO Racing in 2022 while Ingrassia steps out of the co-driver’s seat after a highly-successful career. Evans and Martin secured the fifth Toyota one-two of the season, and finish runner-up in the championship for the second year in a row after victories in Portugal and Finland. Alongside their team-mates, Kalle Rovanperä and his co-driver Jonne Halttunen were key to the manufacturers’ championship success after claiming their first career victories in Estonia and Greece this year. At the final round they were exemplary team players, focusing on a clean finish in ninth overall to ensure the manufacturers’ title was secured. This is the fifth time Toyota has won the manufacturers’ championship – putting it joint third on the all-time list of titles – and the second since it returned to the sport in 2017 with the Yaris WRC. This was the 26th and final victory achieved by the car in the final event of the World Rally Car era before hybrid-powered Rally1 cars are introduced in 2022. TGR WRC Challenge Program driver Takamoto Katsuta finished seventh overall with co-driver Aaron Johnston, overcoming contact in the penultimate test to set the second-fastest time in the rally-ending Power Stage after a superb job by the team’s mechanics to repair his car in just a 15-minute service. Jari-Matti Latvala (Team Principal) “We have been working so hard to claim the manufacturers’ championship and the drivers’ and co-drivers’ championships all at the same time. I am so grateful for the team: We have such a fantastic team with great people and the best drivers in the championship. I’m really proud of all the team members and the crews. What Seb and Julien have achieved in their careers is incredible. Elfyn and Scott did fantastically well to make it an exciting battle, and a huge thank you to Kalle and Jonne for the role
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