The GAZOO Racing (GR) World Rally Team (WRT) recently celebrated the first win this season for its new GR YARIS Rally1 vehicle when Kalle Rovanperä secured victory at Rally Sweden in round two of the 2022 FIA World Rally Championship. Rovanperä’s fellow Finnish driver Esapekka Lappi claimed third place to complete a double podium finish during his first start for the team since 2018.
All three of the team’s drivers were part of a close fight for victory for most of the rally on the unfamiliar, high-speed, snow-covered roads around the event’s new base in Umeå. As the highest-placed driver in the championship, Rovanperä was disadvantaged by having to run first on the road in the No. 69 Toyota GR YARIS Rally1, however, he concluded the second day leading team-mate Elfyn Evans by 8.3 seconds.
Rovanperä won the first of the final day’s four stages to add to his lead and finished 22 seconds clear as he and co-driver Jonne Halttunen secured the third win of their WRC career in the No. 69 Toyota GR YARIS Rally1. The win places Rovanperä 14 points clear at the top of the Drivers’ Championship.
Lappi was in a close fight for second position throughout the last day, and ultimately finished just 8.6 seconds behind in the No. 4 Toyota GR YARIS Rally1 as he and co-driver Janne Ferm completed a fantastic comeback weekend with the team. The result saw Toyota take the lead in the Manufacturers’ Championship with a 24-point advantage.
Akio Toyoda, President and CEO of Toyota Motor Corporation, commented: “Kalle, Jonne, congratulations on your victory! Also, I would like to thank them for bringing the first WRC victory to the GR YARIS Rally1. The team started working immediately after Monte Carlo, testing on snow to prepare for this rally. We were able to gain precious data on how to improve the hybrid-electric system in the harsh cold environment. I hope we use this experience effectively not only to win next year, but also to provide data to suppliers so that we can continue competing in motorsport while working towards carbon neutrality. For the fans, I appreciate your continued support throughout the season until the last round, Rally Japan.”
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 GR, to consolidate all of its motorsport’s 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.
Round three of the 2022 FIA World Rally Championship is the Croatia Rally, which will take place from April 21–24 on the asphalt roads around the capital city Zagreb. For the latest Press Releases and more, please visit www.toyotaoman.com, www.youtube.com/toyotaoman, www.facebook.com/toyotaoman, and instagram.com/toyotaomanofficial/.