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    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

    Rally Estonia – Round 7 – Rovanperä reigns again in TOYOTA GAZOO Racing one-two

    July 17, 2022
    Kalle Rovanperä has continued his remarkable 2022 season in the FIA World Rally Championship with his fifth victory from the last six events, leading a one-two finish at Rally Estonia for the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team after a high-speed battle with team-mate Elfyn Evans. After a series of rougher gravel events, the smooth and fast stages of Estonia provided a test for the outright performance of the new generation of Rally1 cars, one the GR YARIS Rally1 HYBRID passed with flying colours by dominating the weekend. It recorded the fastest time in all 22 full-length stages, beaten only narrowly in the two short super special stages held on Thursday and Saturday evenings. The weather ensured a challenging weekend from start to finish with short and sharp rain showers making conditions extremely changeable and unpredictable for the drivers. Evans excelled in a mostly dry start to Friday, winning all four stages during the morning to lead Rovanperä, who did well sweeping the loose gravel stages as championship leader and then capitalised on wet weather in the afternoon to move ahead. He and co-driver Jonne Halttunen were then dominant through Saturday, winning seven stages in a row and continued that form into Sunday morning. The worst of the weather however was saved for the final two stages. Both Rovanperä and Evans were more than half a minute slower than some competitors as conditions worsened during SS23 but were able to maintain their overall positions. They then made the most of improving conditions as the sun came out for their runs at the deciding Power Stage, Rovanperä setting the best time by a huge 22.5 seconds over Evans to claim maximum points for himself and co-driver Jonne Halttunen, who increase their championship lead to 83 points after seven of 13 rounds. Evans and his co-driver Scott Martin have climbed to third in the standings after a second straight second-place finish and their third of the season. With the Power Stage result, TGR also scored maximum points towards the manufacturers’ championship this weekend and now lead by 87 points. Fighting back after losing time when a tyre came off its rim on a landing on Saturday, Esapekka Lappi won two stages on Sunday and gained sixth place overall on the final stage, where he set the fourth-fastest time despite experiencing considerably worse conditions than his team-mates. Takamoto Katsuta continued his unbroken scoring record so far in 2022 in his TGR WRT Next Generation entry by finishing fifth overall, improving his confidence and performance over the event despite the difficult conditions. Jari-Matti Latvala (Team Principal) “Kalle keeps on surprising us every time with what he is able to do. The conditions were extremely difficult in the Power Stage especially, but the more difficult the conditions, the stronger Kalle seems to be. But we also need to remember the whole team effort that has gone into this result: To win so many stages this weekend proves that the GR YARIS Rally1 HYBRID is fast

    Safari Rally Kenya – Round 6 – GR YARIS Rally1 wins African epic with incredible 1-2-3-4 finish

    June 26, 2022
    TOYOTA GAZOO Racing has claimed a historic result at the legendary Safari Rally Kenya with Kalle Rovanperä leading a remarkable clean sweep of the top four positions for the GR YARIS Rally1 car. Elfyn Evans and Takamoto Katsuta joined him on the podium with Sébastien Ogier in fourth. It is also a landmark 10th victory for Toyota on the famous African event, and the first time it has achieved a 1-2-3-4 finish in the WRC since the very same rally in 1993. Only once has any other manufacturer achieved the same feat in the championship in nearly three decades since. In its second running since returning to the WRC calendar last year, the Safari delivered even tougher conditions, including deep ‘fesh-fesh’ sand on Friday and wet and muddy surfaces on Saturday in addition to the ever-present rocks and stones. It was by far the hardest challenge yet for the new generation of hybrid-powered Rally1 cars, but the GR YARIS survived everything that the Kenyan terrain could throw at it to remain reliable and dominate the weekend without any major issues. The next best-placed car finished eight-and-a-half minutes adrift of the Toyota quartet. Rovanperä had an early scare when he ran wide on the very first corner on Thursday’s opening super special in Nairobi and knocked a tyre off its rim. But he and co-driver Jonne Halttunen ran faultlessly thereafter on the way to their fourth victory in six rounds, increasing their championship lead to 65 points. Evans and his co-driver Scott Martin also performed superbly and ran their team-mates close for the victory, remaining within 20 seconds of the lead until the rain hit on Saturday afternoon. They finished up 52.8s away as they scored their second podium of the season. TGR WRC Challenge Program driver Katsuta once more drove an excellent and smart rally in the demanding conditions of Kenya to claim his second career podium, one year on from taking his first at the very same event. It’s also a maiden podium for his co-driver Aaron Johnston, the pair entered under the TGR World Rally Team Next Generation banner. Ogier, the 2021 event winner, led for most of Friday in the defence of his crown until he had to stop and change a tyre on the day’s final stage, losing over two minutes. He and co-driver Benjamin Veillas fought back to fourth overall and, with their team-mates focused on reaching their finish, set the third-fastest time in the rally-ending Power Stage to add to the team’s points haul from the weekend. Its manufacturers’ championship lead has increased to 62 points.   Jari-Matti Latvala (Team Principal) “To achieve a 1-2-3-4 here at the Safari Rally is an exceptional result. It’s nearly 30 years since Toyota managed the same feat here in Kenya with the Celica and I can only thank our team and our drivers for the superb job they have done. When we were developing the GR YARIS Rally1 we focused above all on making a really strong
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