Akio Toyoda comment for Rallye Monte-Carlo
The start of our eighth WRC season was a new step for TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WRT. Nine years ago, on 15 January 2015, I announced Toyota’s return to the WRC and explained the following: ‘Rally is the best place to strengthen people and cars because it is a sport in which you compete using cars based on production vehicles on the roads that our customers use in their daily life. We would like to come back to WRC to make ever-better cars and to make many people smile.’
After seven seasons, we were able to offer two more options for our customers in addition to the GR Yaris which we launched in 2020. The first are the two special editions supervised by the WRC champions: GR Yaris Sébastien Ogier Edition and GR Yaris Kalle Rovanperä Edition. They are not just commemorative models. Both world champions were involved in the development and achieved the taste they wanted. You can enjoy doing donuts with Kalle’s edition which I’m also looking forward to trying. Seb’s edition has ‘Morizo mode’. The "seasoning" Seb reached during the development was the same as what I liked. It should have been named ‘Seb Mode’ but thanks to Seb’s favour, my name was used. Thank you, Seb!
And the second is GR Yaris Rally2. Rallye Monte-Carlo was the very first competition for our Rally2 and we had four teams of customers on board. I would like to express my sincere appreciation to all the teams who took on new challenges with the cars with unknown capabilities.
The first GR Yaris Rally2 in Japan is scheduled to be delivered to Morizo, ‘an ordinary man who loves cars’. When it’s delivered, I will try it right away and see if there’s anything we can improve. Then, the car will be rented out to a customer in Japan to participate in the Japanese Rally Championship (JRC).
In order to have the Rally2 cars ready for Monte Carlo and the first round of JRC, the team members in Finland have been working very hard. I am relieved that all four cars completed the rally in their debut round. This is just the start. We have to keep trying to improve the car itself and the support system to become the product to be chosen by customers. I‘m sure the team will continue their efforts.
For TOYOTA GAZOO Racing, WRC is not just a competition to win. We compete in WRC to make ever-better cars and make more people smile. The joys and disappointments we have experienced over the 85 events so far have led even closer to the cars for our customers. This is a very big step. We were not able to celebrate the victory this time, but the driving of three Rally1s and four Rally2s will certainly lead into future events. I trust Jari-Matti will lead the team like past years to continue to work hard and to make the 2024 season a great year.”
Chairman, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team
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