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    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

    Rally RACC – Round 11 – Evans and TOYOTA GAZOO Racing seal second in Spain

    October 17, 2021
    Elfyn Evans finished second overall at the Rally de España to set up a final-round FIA World Rally Championship title decider with his TOYOTA GAZOO RacingWorld Rally Team team-mate Sébastien Ogier, who finished fourth. Evans and co-driver Scott Martin had led the rally after winning the first three stages on Friday, but despite battling hard didn’t quite have the level of performance over the rest of the weekend to maintain the fight for the victory. Still, the second-place finish ensures that Evans remains in with a shot of a maiden drivers’ championship going into the final round in Italy. Ogier was in contention for a podium position all the way to the end of the rally, but just missed out on third position in a closely-fought battle through the final day’s four stages – missing out by 6.8 seconds. Nevertheless he and co-driver Julien Ingrassia continue to the lead the standings with a 17-point advantage over their team-mates as they look to claim an eighth world title. In the manufacturers’ championship, the points scored by Evans and Ogier – including those achieved by setting the third and fourth fastest times in a tricky rally-ending Power Stage – have added to the team’s tally and brought it a step closer to sealing the title. TOYOTA GAZOO Racing leads by 47 points with a maximum of 52 available from the final round. All three of the team’s cars finished inside the top five places, with Kalle Rovanperä and Jonne Halttunen securing fifth in the overall classification and in the Power Stage on their first time competing in Spain in the top category of the WRC. TGR WRC Challenge Program driver Takamoto Katsuta also continued his learning alongside co-driver Aaron Johnston as they reached the finish after restarting the event on Saturday morning.  Jari-Matti Latvala (Team Principal) “In the end this weekend was not as strong for us as it could have been. It’s important that we learn for the future about why we were struggling at times and how we can react better. But there are still positives: Firstly, that all three cars finished in the top five without any problems. Also, second place for Elfyn is another good result for him and it keeps the fight for the drivers’ title alive until the final round, which is obviously exciting for the championship as a whole. The manufacturers’ championship wasn’t quite decided in our favour this weekend, but our target now is to secure both titles in style at Monza.” Press release Toyota GAZOO Racing WRT

    Secto Rally Finland – Round 10 – Flying Evans delivers another home win for the Toyota Yaris WRC

    October 3, 2021
    The TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team is celebrating a fourth home victory on Rally Finland thanks to an outstanding weekend from Elfyn Evans and his co-driver Scott Martin. The British duo are now the only crew who can catch team-mates Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia – who finished fifth in Finland – from winning the championship with two rounds remaining, meaning a Toyota driver is now guaranteed to win the title for a third year in a row. The team has also taken a step closer to clinching the manufacturers’ championship. In the first Rally Finland to be held for over two years, the team faced strengthened competition on the high-speed gravel roads. Evans was its best-placed driver at the end of the opening day on Friday in third overall, having produced a strong performance despite running second on the road. On Saturday morning he surged into the lead with four stage wins out of four, and he took an advantage of 9.1 seconds into the final day. He was only 0.4s off the fastest time in the first of Sunday’s tests before delivering fastest times in both SS17 and SS18 to increase his margin. He sealed the win in style with the fastest time in the rally-ending Power Stage, claiming the maximum five bonus points. The result means that the Toyota Yaris WRC – built in the rally’s home city of Jyväskylä – maintains its unbeaten record on its home roads since its debut in 2017. It is the car’s 25th WRC victory in total, on what was its final gravel event before new technical regulations are introduced for 2022. It’s also the 200th WRC podium for Toyota, which becomes only the third manufacturer to reach the figure. With his second win of the season, Evans reduces the gap to championship leader Ogier to 24 points with a maximum of 60 available. In the manfuacturers’ championship, Toyota’s lead is increased to 61 points. Ogier succeeded in his main aim this weekend of reaching the finish and banking more points towards the championship, and became increasingly confident with the car after making setup changes on Saturday. Finishing one place ahead of Ogier in fourth overall was Esapekka Lappi and Janne Ferm in a privately-entered Toyota Yaris WRC – a strong return to the car with which they claimed a home victory four years ago. After being caught out during Saturday, both Kalle Rovanperä and TGR WRC Challenge Program driver Takamoto Katsuta were able to restart on Sunday and gain further experience from their maiden Rally Finland starts in the top category of the WRC. Jari-Matti Latvala (Team Principal) “To win Rally Finland is always very special and even more so for our team, so we are really happy to win here again. The competition was stronger here this year, but the performance of Elfyn shows that we had a fast car. He was not necessarily one of the favourites to win but he proved that he was the fastest

    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
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