Toyota celebrates WRC championship success on home ground with podium finish at Rally Japan
- Toyota wins World Rally Championship manufacturers’ title for second year in a row
Dubai, UAE – 17 November 2022: The TOYOTA GAZOO Racing (TGR) World Rally Team (WRT) claimed a podium finish recently at Rally Japan, with Takamoto Katsuta and Aaron Johnston securing third place in the No. 18 Toyota GR YARIS Rally1 Hybrid Electric Vehicle during the final race of the championship. The result sealed a remarkable season in which Toyota celebrated its second consecutive FIA World Rally manufacturers’ championship title and the team achieved a clean sweep of the drivers and co-drivers titles, recording seven wins in a total of 13 races.
The return of Rally Japan to the WRC calendar for the first time since 2010 created an exciting challenge for teams, drivers and co-drivers, with an entirely new event held on demanding and twisting asphalt roads in the mountains of the Aichi and Gifu prefectures. Face with an unfamiliar route and difficult weather conditions, Toyota’s GR YARIS Rally1 Hybrid Electric Vehicle rose to the challenge and performed strongly throughout the event, winning a total of 11 stages.
TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WRC Challenge Program driver Takamoto Katsuta and his co-driver Aaron Johnston ended the first day of stages in fifth overall in the No. 18 Toyota GR YARIS Rally1 Hybrid Electric Vehicle, just over 20 seconds away from the lead. Katsuta moved up into fourth place during the second day’s first stage and tried to keep the pressure on in the fight for a podium place through the rest of the day.
With a long and challenging final group of stages still to come, Katsuta’s consistent driving in the No. 18 Toyota GR YARIS Rally1 Hybrid Electric Vehicle was rewarded when he gained third place in the final day’s second stage. Heavy rain made for treacherous conditions during the remainder of the event, but Katsuta safely made it through to clinch his second podium place of the season at his home rally.
Akio Toyoda, President of Toyota Motor Corporation and TGR Team Founder, commented: “To Takamoto, congratulations and thank you for standing on the podium in our home rally! I would like to highlight that Toyota’s first WRC participation was in Japan.”
Toyoda added: “It was also great that the team members competing in the WRC finally came to Japan. I’m glad to see Rally cars ran on the roads in our home country, and local drivers were behind the wheel, for the first time in 12 years, and I was able to follow and cheer them from up close. As a rally fan, I am truly impressed that this experience, which I have longed for, has become a reality. Thank you to the team and the crews who had already clinched the championship at the previous round in Spain, they gave it their all for Toyota fans in Japan.”
TOYOTA GAZOO Racing (TGR) also demonstrated two new concept cars during its home rally. The GR YARIS Rally2 Concept, a concept car being developed according to the Rally2 regulations, was unveiled for the first time at Rally Japan. It was joined by the GR YARIS H2, an experimental concept that uses hydrogen to fuel a combustion engine, which showcased its performance following its debut run at Ypres Rally Belgium in August.
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.