TOYOTA GAZOO Racing Concludes WRC Season with 1-2-3 Podium Finish at Rally Japan

30 Nov 2023

TOYOTA GAZOO Racing (TGR) World Rally Team (WRT) has scored a flawless 1-2-3 podium finish on home roads at the FIA World Rally Championship’s (WRC) Rally Japan to complete a season of success in style. Elfyn Evans, followed by Sébastien Ogier and Kalle Rovanperä, all claimed victory in their No. 33, No. 17, and No. 69 Toyota GR YARIS Rally1 Hybrid Electric Vehicles respectively.

The triumph, for Evans and co-driver Scott Martin, is their third of the season and the ninth in 13 rallies this year for TGR. Toyota, meanwhile, had already sealed its manufacturers’ title during round 11 of Rally Chile before Rovanperä and Jonne Halttunen secured their second drivers’ and co-drivers’ titles on the penultimate event, the Central European Rally.

Akio Toyoda, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Toyota Motor Corporation and TGR-WRT Chairman, commented: “‘To foster the culture of rallying through continuous improvement in a Japanese way’ and ‘to make the rally an essential autumn tradition in Japan’. Rally Japan this year made all of these things come true. The most impressive thing was that we were able to use Toyota Stadium as one of the special stages allowing us to watch the top drivers driving up close and in front of that many spectators. It was a rally full of exciting and amazing experiences for both fans and drivers. If we continue this kind of rally events, I am sure that motorsport will become a culture in Japan and be more popular. I would like to thank everyone who worked so hard to make Rally Japan 2023 a great success.”

This was the WRC’s second visit to the technical and demanding asphalt roads in the mountains of the Aichi and Gifu prefectures around Toyota City. Heavy rain added significantly to day one’s challenges, and this was where Evans built the foundations of his victory. Two stage wins in the most extreme wet morning weather helped him to open up a lead of almost one minute and 50 seconds over his team-mates. Day two and three brought further changeable and slippery weather conditions, but Evans managed both days expertly to seal the win. Meanwhile, Ogier and Rovanperä focused on maximising the team’s result rather than their own positions in tricky weather conditions to finally emerge in second and third place.  

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.

Race Notes:

  • No. 33 Toyota GR YARIS Rally1 Hybrid Electric Vehicle (Elfyn Evans & Scott Martin)
    • Position: 1st
    • Time: 3h32m08.8s
  • No. 17 Toyota GR YARIS Rally1 Hybrid Electric Vehicle (Sébastien Ogier & Vincent Landais)
    • Position: 2nd
    • Time: 3:33:26.5 (+1:17.7)
  • No. 69 Toyota GR YARIS Rally1 Hybrid Electric Vehicle (Kalle Rovanperä & Jonne Halttunen)
    • Position: 3rd
    • Time: 3:33:55.3 (+1:46.5)