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    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

    #WRC – Round 4 – Evans wins, Ogier on the podium for TOYOTA GAZOO Racing

    May 23, 2021
    The TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team is celebrating its third win and double podium finish from four events so far in 2021 after Elfyn Evans claimed victory at the Rally de Portugal. Sébastien Ogier finished third and continues to lead the drivers’ championship – two points in front of Evans – while the team has extended its lead in the manufacturers’ standings. Along with co-driver Scott Martin, Evans drove a consistent and intelligent rally and was rewarded with the lead on Saturday afternoon. His advantage coming into the final day’s five stages was a narrow 10.7 seconds, but he stormed through the opening test 8.9s quicker than anyone else to almost double his margin. He claimed two further stage wins later during the morning – bringing his tally for the weekend to six – and ultimately sealed victory by 28.3s. It’s the fourth win of his WRC career, and his third since joining Toyota at the start of 2020. Ogier and co-driver Julien Ingrassia recovered well from the disadvantage of running first on the road on Friday and sweeping the loose gravel stages. Securing third overall, he saved his tyres for the rally-ending Power Stage to try and secure as many points as possible. He set the third-best time, giving him three bonus points and his two-point advantage in the standings over Evans, who was fifth-fastest in the same test as he sealed the overall win. Finishing a superb fourth place after a fast and consistent weekend, Takamoto Katsuta claimed the best result of his career to-date, driving a Yaris WRC as part of the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WRC Challenge Program. After retiring due to technical reasons on Saturday afternoon, Kalle Rovanperä restarted this morning, taking the opportunity to gain further knowledge and also setting the fourth-best time in the Power Stage. Quote: Jari-Matti Latvala (Team Principal) “We are very, very happy with this result. At the beginning of the rally it wasn’t looking like we would finish on the highest step of the podium. But in rallying you have to complete every corner until the end of the very last stage, and in the end we won the rally, which is always a fantastic feeling. Elfyn has been the most consistent driver over the weekend and the performance has been at a high level as well. And generally the team has been doing really good work over the weekend with a lot of positive things to take away: Seb scoring the third place, bringing great points for the championship, and also Takamoto taking his best ever result in fourth. Unfortunately it was a more disappointing rally for Kalle, but I’m sure he will be very motivated to come back strongly.” PROVISIONAL FINAL CLASSIFICATION, RALLY DE PORTUGAL 1 Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin (Toyota Yaris WRC) 3h38m26.2s 2 Dani Sordo/Borja Rozada (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +28.3s 3 Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (Toyota Yaris WRC) +1m23.6s 4 Takamoto Katsuta/Dan Barritt (Toyota Yaris WRC) +2m28.4s 5 Gus Greensmith/Chris Patterson (Ford Fiesta WRC) +4m52.7s 6

    #WRC – Round 3 – Incredible finish delivers TOYOTA GAZOO Racing one-two

    April 26, 2021
    The TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team claimed another one-two finish in a thrilling conclusion to the first ever Croatia Rally held as part of the FIA World Rally Championship. In a final-stage decider that went right down to the last metres, Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia claimed the victory by just 0.6 seconds over their team-mates Elfyn Evans and Scott Martin in one of the WRC’s closest ever finishes. Just 10.4s covered the top three cars going into the final day of the rally, with Ogier 6.9s in front of Evans. In the opening two stages of the final day, Evans was the fastest driver and took the lead away from Ogier – who had earlier been involved in a traffic incident on a road section, from which everybody thankfully came away safely. His car was able to continue in the rally, albeit with damage to the right-side door and aerodynamics. Evans and Ogier began the deciding Power Stage separated by 3.9s, and needing to push to secure the one-two result with only a narrow margin back to third place. In the end, Ogier was fastest through the stage and claimed the victory, Evans completing 4.5s slower after running wide close to the end. The final winning margin was the third closest in WRC history. With a maximum points haul, Ogier moves back to the top of the drivers’ standings and the team extends its lead in the manfuacturers’ championship to 27 points. Takamoto Katsuta claimed his third consecutive sixth-place finish in the Toyota Yaris WRC he drives as part of the TGR WRC Challenge Program, having impressed with his pace and two stage wins on Saturday alongside co-driver Dan Barritt. Jari-Matti Latvala (Team Principal) “It is so tense and exciting following the action on the stages when our drivers fighting for the victory like they were today. I feel very sorry for Elfyn, he went a little bit wide on the last corner and basically it was lost there, but they both had to push, and Seb did a brilliant final stage. We are happy, we need to be proud of what these guys have done this weekend and for another one-two finish, which is an amazing result for the team.” FINAL CLASSIFICATION, CROATIA RALLY 1 Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (Toyota Yaris WRC) 2h51m22.9s 2 Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin (Toyota Yaris WRC) +0.6s 3 Thierry Neuville/Martijn Wydaeghe (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +8.1s 4 Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +1m25.1s 5 Adrien Fourmaux/Renaud Jamoul (Ford Fiesta WRC) +3m09.7s 6 Takamoto Katsuta/Dan Barritt (Toyota Yaris WRC) +3m31.8s 7 Gus Greensmith/Chris Patterson (Ford Fiesta WRC) +3m58.8s 8 Craig Breen/Paul Nagle (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +4m28.2s 9 Mads Østberg/Torstein Eriksen (Citroën C3 Rally2) +10m00.8s 10 Teemu Suninen/Mikko Markkula (Ford Fiesta Rally2) +10m29.3s Retired Kalle Rovanperä/Jonne Halttunen (Toyota Yaris WRC) What’s next? Round four will be the first gravel event of the year: Rally de Portugal (May 20-23). Based in Matosinhos near Porto in the north of the country, it features classic stages
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