Akio Toyoda comment for Rally Sweden
When Toyota came back to WRC in 2017, it was at Rally Sweden that Jari-Matti brought the first victory to TGR. Since then, TGR was able to win in Sweden with Ott in 2019, Elfyn in 2020 and Kalle in 2022. Snow stages are a kind of home road for TGR-WRT which is based in Finland, and all the crews gave their best this weekend to achieve the best result on our specialty surface. Unfortunately, it did not lead to the result we hoped for this time, but their challenges surely made our car and the team stronger.
TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team continues to lead the manufacturers’ standings after round two of the FIA World Rally Championship season at Rally Sweden, despite narrowly missing out on a podium finish following a closely-fought weekend on snow and ice.
Kalle Rovanperä finished in fourth position, just 5.1 seconds from third, after fighting hard until the very last stage. Warmer conditions meant that last year’s Rally Sweden winner was at a greater disadvantage this time running first on the road on Friday, but he fought back well to begin the final day only 3.8s away from a podium position. That gap was further reduced to 1.1s thanks to a stage win in Sunday’s opening test, but rival Thierry Neuville (Hyundai) responded on the next stage and managed to hold on to the place.
With an extra three bonus points for the third-fastest time on the rally-ending Power Stage, Rovanperä remains second in the drivers’ championship, only three points behind leader Ott Tänak (M-Sport Ford).
Elfyn Evans finished one position behind Rovanperä in fifth overall, after working during the rally to improve his feeling with the car in the tricky conditions. This culminated in the second-best time in the Power Stage, just 0.6 seconds from the fastest time and 0.015s quicker than Rovanperä, which keeps him fourth in the championship.