The TOYOTA GAZOO Racing (TGR) World Rally Team (WRT) recently secured yet another impressive double-podium victory this season with its GR YARIS Rally1 Hybrid Electric vehicle in the 2023 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) at Rally Finland. Elfyn Evans' remarkable driving secured him first place in the No. 33 Toyota GR YARIS Rally1 Hybrid Electric vehicle. His exceptional performance was matched by teammate Takamoto Katsuta, who secured a third-place podium finish in his No. 18 Toyota GR YARIS Rally1 Hybrid Electric vehicle. Following its fifth Rally Finland win since 2017, Toyota has increased its manufacturers’ championship lead to 67 points.
Evans dominated in his No. 33 GR YARIS Rally1 Hybrid Electric vehicle throughout the event. Having taken over the lead, Evans continued in fine form to win seven consecutive stages and build an advantage of over 30 seconds ahead of the final day. He went on to win three of the rally’s last four stages, sealing his seventh career victory by 39.1s with the fastest time in the rally-ending Power Stage.
Katsuta scored his fourth FIA WRC podium after a strong and confident performance on the roads around Jyväskylä, where he has lived for many years. He and co-driver Aaron Johnston won the first forest stage and were soon fighting for a podium place amidst challenging weather conditions.
An excellent drive on wet roads to win the second day’s final stage also allowed him to regain the advantage in his fight for third. He stretched that advantage with a further fastest time on the rally’s last day before setting the fourth-best time in the Power Stage to seal third overall.
Akio Toyoda, TGR-WRT Chairman, commented: “Elfyn, Takamoto, congratulations on achieving another amazing victory at Rally Finland! Being the alternate Team Principal this time, as the principal Jari-Matti Latvala participated in the No. 97 GR YARIS Rally1 Hybrid Electric vehicle, I was able to realize that each member of the team is doing a very hard job in each area and that made me appreciate everybody again. I always told every team member three things: ‘one team’, ‘never give up’, and ‘we hate to lose’. Elfyn, Scott, thank you for bringing me to the podium, I definitely want to do this amazing job in Japan again. I am grateful for Jari-Matti, who has built and is leading such a great team, and I want to thank him and the team for this amazing week.”
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 TGR, 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,’ TGR 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, TGR aims to forge new technologies and solutions that bring the freedom, adventure, and joy of driving to everyone.
The next leg of the 2023 FIA WRC is the Acropolis Rally in Greece, which will take place from September 7-10. Its legendary reputation for rocky mountain roads and high temperatures combine to create a tough challenge for vehicles, tires and drivers alike.