Whether it's in the air, the dust or the snow, Toyota is making waves at this year's World Rally Championships.
Toyota’s long history of racing and rallying was recently brought together under the name of TOYOTA GAZOO Racing, heralding a new generation of performance cars in all racing activities.
The FIA World Rally Championship is an epic motorsport adventure taking drivers and their production-based cars through challenging terrain in 14 rallies across 14 countries.
Under WRC champion Tommi Mäkinen, around 90 team members are fine-tuning the Yaris WRC. Now, after 17 years away and with the season in full flow, Toyota GAZOO Racing is taking WRC 2017 by storm, claiming their first win in 19 years at Rally Sweden.
Designed for endurance and speed, the highly tuned Yaris WRC packs a mighty punch, setting adrenalin pumping as it competes in the World Rally Championship in 2017.
Underneath the Yaris’ white, red and black body sits a responsive 1.8-litre engine producing over 210 DIN hp, with a best-in-class 0-100km/h acceleration time.
With dynamic handling, rally-car-looks and race team-honed performance, the sensational Yaris crowns a dynamic new range. It also helped inspire the new Toyota Yaris GRMN (below), the highly-tuned hot hatchback with rally credentials that's fit for the road. The new Yaris GRMN will be the hottest car on sale in the UK in early 2018.
All three Toyota drivers came through their toughest test yet to post points-scoring results on Rally Portugal, the sixth round of the 2017 FIA World Rally Championship yesterday.
Juho Hänninen was seventh, Jari-Matti Latvala ninth and Esapekka Lappi, making his debut with the Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team, finished 10th, also netting two points with fourth fastest time in the event’s power stage in the Yaris WRC.
The team now have a three week break before heading to Sardinia for the Rally Italia Sardegna from 8 to 11 June. This is another tough challenge, with soft, sandy gravel stages and the expectation of high temperatures.
After four days of action, Latvala and co-driver Miikka Anttila finished fifth, two places ahead of team-mates of Juho Hänninen and Kaj Lindström.
Latvala, who remains in second place in the WRC drivers’ championship, said: “Our car is very tough, we can say that for sure, and we certainly improved the performance compared to the last gravel round in Mexico.
“The most important thing was that we kept our consistent run of points that we’ve had since Monte-Carlo, so the championship stays open. It’s incredible, but in all my career I don’t think I’ve ever been this close to the front after just five rallies. Now I’m looking forward to the next test and the next rally, so that we can keep on making the car better.”
The Tour de Corse is known as the rally of 10,000 corners, battled out entirely on asphalt roads, the first of its kind for the season. Jari-Matti Latvala ended the first day in sixth position while his team mate Juho Hänninen had a tougher start after a collision with a bridge parapet putting him out of action for the first stage.
Some adjustments to the Yaris WRC setup resulted in better performance on day 2 with both drivers posting top-three stage times. Unfortunately Hänninen only reached the first stage of the final day after sliding off the road but Latvala brought fourth home for the Gazoo team.
Team Principal Tommi Mäkinen (below) praised the performance of both team and drivers: “Both drivers said that the car felt much better after some changes we made on Saturday, although it was already promising on the first day. So this result is really a team effort, with the car being improved over the three days thanks to everyone’s hard work and collaboration.
After four days of the toughest action so far, both Yaris crews secured a points finish in the top 10 with high temperatures and altitude testing the new 1.6-litre, 380bhp Yaris.
Thousands of fans turned out in Mexico City to see Juho Hänninen come out on top on Thursday evening whilst Jari-Matti Latvala was 4th quickest on the Power Stage to bring home more valuable points.
TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team continues to hold 2nd place in the manufacturers’ standings.
Toyota won the gruelling snow-covered Rally Sweden, a feat achieved on only the second event for the all-new Yaris WRC.
Jari-Matti Latvala took the lead on Saturday’s super special stage and started day three with just a 3.8 second advantage. With victory in his sights, Latvala topped all of Sunday’s three stages to seal an emotional win and head the drivers’ standings.
In the second car, Juho Hänninen had a trouble-free final day gaining more points and taking TOYOTA GAZOO Racing into second place in the manufacturers’ championship.
Jari-Matti Latvala surpassed all expectations, negotiating ice and snow, to come home with second place for Toyota Gazoo Racing's debut at Rallye Monte-Carlo.
Alongside co-driver Miikka Anttila, the Finnish pair delivered a solid performance at one of rallying's toughest stages. The podium means Latvala is second in the drivers' championship, a fact that he himself clearly did not expect to hear, commenting: "If you had told me before the start of the rally that this is where we would finish, I would never have believed it. In fact, this equals my best-ever result here."
In the team's second car Juho Hänninen and Kaj Lindström (also from Finland) recovered from an unlucky first day on the ice to come home in 16th, meaning Toyota Gazoo Racing is in second place in the teams’ championship after the opening round of the 2017 season.