Ott Tänak further extends his lead in the drivers’ championship on board the Toyota Yaris WRC
The GAZOO Racing (GR) World Rally Team (WRT) sealed their sixth victory of the season recently with an impressive win at Rally GB. Ott Tänak set the fastest time on the Power Stage and claimed maximum points in the No. 8 Toyota Yaris WRC to further extend his lead in the drivers’ championship. The result takes the GR team closer to the top of the manufacturers’ leaderboard in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC).
The GR team led the rally from start to finish, with Kris Meeke having set the early pace in the No. 5 Toyota Yaris WRC before Tänak took over at the front. Day four of the rally consisted of two runs over the Alwen and Brenig stages in north Wales, with the asphalt Great Orme stage along the coast ultimately canceled because the sea conditions meant there was insufficient safety cover. Tänak began the fourth and final day perfectly, outpacing his nearest rival by one-tenth of a second to win the first pass over Alwen in the No. 8 Toyota Yaris WRC.
Tänak took an advantage of 9.5 seconds into the Power Stage, where he went fastest of all by half a second, beating his closest championship rival to the five bonus points on offer. He and co-driver Martin Järveoja’s final overall winning margin was 10.9s, and Tänak now leads by 28 points in the championship. Meanwhile, team-mate Meeke narrowly missed a podium place to finish in fourth in the No. 5 Toyota Yaris WRC, securing vital points and helping to take the GR team to within just eight points of the lead in the manufacturers’ championship.
Akio Toyoda, Team Chairman, commented: “GAZOO Racing won two FIA World Championship events (WEC and WRC) on the same weekend. In heavy wind and rain and extreme road conditions, I am really happy to see Tänak and Järveoja win Rally GB. For the last two WRC events of the season, I truly hope for more victories and finally for their championships. Let’s make ever-better cars with all our teams. Thank you very much to all the fans who support our activities in these two FIA world championships.”
Ott Tänak, Driver of the No. 8 Toyota Yaris WRC, said: “It’s an amazing feeling to win. There are a lot of people working behind us and with the effort they put in, it’s great to be rewarded like this with maximum points. On the Power Stage, I had full confidence in the vehicle and I had to take the opportunity, as every point can be crucial. Our team slogan is ‘pushing the limits for better’ and I always try to do my best. We have two more rallies to come this season and certainly, nothing is decided yet, so we need to keep pushing and remain focused.”
Tommi Mäkinen, Team Principal at GAZOO Racing, said: “It has been an incredible rally, and Tänak did a perfect job. I know that this rally is one of the most difficult, but he controlled it all weekend under huge pressure. The Power Stage was incredibly exciting and I think my heart rate is still recovering, but for Tänak to get maximum points was amazing. His championship is looking good now, he’s managing everything very well. Meeke also did a great job this weekend to score us important points for the manufacturers’ championship. We have two rallies to go now, and just need to concentrate and do our job as well as we can.”
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.
The next and penultimate event of the season is Rally de España, which will take place from October 25-27 and is the only WRC round run on both gravel and asphalt. After one day on gravel, teams are required to transfer the vehicles from gravel to asphalt specification within a 75-minute service. The asphalt stages that follow are smooth, fast, and flowing, with similar characteristics to racing circuits.