The GAZOO Racing (GR) World Rally team has increased its advantage at the top of the manufacturers’ championship standings after a double-podium finishat Wales Rally GB in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC). Making it the fourth event in a row where two of the Toyota Yaris WRCs have finished inside the top three, Jari-Matti Latvala engaged in a thrilling final-day fight for the rally win, ultimately finishing in second place with Esapekka Lappi in third.
Commenting on the GR team’s performance, Yugo Miyamoto, Chief Representative, Middle East andNorth Africa Representative Office, Toyota Motor Corporation, said: “The outstanding achievements of our team and vehicles in claiming a fourth consecutive double-podium finish in the season at Wales Rally GB are a source of great pride for all of us at Toyota. Challenging events such as WRC push our drivers and vehicles to their limitsand represent the perfect proving ground for future technologies. Everything we learn through our participation in racing events inspiresour engineers as they strive to develop ‘ever-better’ cars. I would like to extend my gratitude to our fans for their unwavering support, which is a source of constant motivation in our quest to create vehicles that bring satisfaction and put a smile on our customers’ faces.”
The last day of the rally consisted of five stages,including three in the forests of North Wales and two all-asphalt stages finishing in Llandudno. Beginning the day 4.4 seconds away from the lead, Latvalain the No. 7 Toyota Yaris WRC made an excellent start to the morning, with a stage win on SS20 moving him into first position. He continued to fight until the end and finished up just 10.6 seconds shy of victory, as he took his third podium finish from the last four events.
On the other hand, Lappi, in the No. 9 Toyota Yaris WRC, began the day with a margin of just 1.7 seconds over the driver in fourth place, but immediately increased his advantage by winning SS19. He ended the rally more than half a minute clear as he made his third podium visit in the space of five rounds. With the results for Latvala and Lappi,GR World Rally team extends its manufacturers’ championship lead to 20 points.
Jari-Matti Latvala said:“It was a great battle, and I really enjoyed the fight. The first two stages were great for me, but it went away in the final loop. It was maybe down to thetire choice as I had one used soft tire, and it was not giving a firmgrip on the gravel. This is a very important result for the team,the manufacturers’ championship, and also for me.”
Esapekka Lappiadded: “I am pleased with this result. These are important points, especially for the team. In the morning loop, the performance was really strongas we defended our third place and managed to do the fastesttime. We got a big gap, and after that, it was just about bringing the car safely to the finish, which we did.”
Over the years, Toyota has been participating in many different forms of motorsports, including Formula One, the World Endurance Championship (WEC), and the Nürburgring 24 Hours endurance race. Toyota’s participation in these events was overseen by separate entities within the company until April 2015, when Toyota established GAZOO Racing (GR), to consolidate all of its motorsports activities under one in-house brand. Representing Toyota’s belief that ‘the roads build the people, and the people build the cars,’ GR highlights the role of motorsports as a fundamental pillar of Toyota’s commitment to making ‘ever-better’ cars. Harnessing years of experience gained under the extreme conditions of various motorsports events, GR aims to forge new technologies and solutions that bring the freedom, adventure, and joy of driving to everyone.
Taking place from 25-28 October, Rally de España is the only WRC round run on both gravel and asphalt. After one day on gravel, teams are required to transfer the cars from gravel to asphalt specification within a 75-minute service. The asphalt stages that follow are smooth, fast and flowing, similar to racing circuits in their characteristics.