TOYOTA GAZOO Racing roars to fourth successive Safari triumph By Investing.com

TOKYO, Apr 1, 2024 – (JCN Newswire) – The TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team has won the prestigious Safari Rally Kenya for the fourth year in a row, with Kalle Rovanpera leading Takamoto Katsuta in a one-two finish in their bid for Africa. event.

The team continues to remain unbeaten in the toughest FIA World Rally Championship since it returned to the calendar in 2021, extending the all-time record for the Safari set by. Toyota (NYSE: ) to 12 wins.

The result also shows the power and reliability of the GR YARIS Rally1 HYBRID, which on this occasion had a modified suspension program and a unique snorkel system: a modern version of the previous Safari cars.

It is the second time that Rovanpera and co-driver Jonne Halttunen have won the event after winning in 2022. Their victory was built on a strong performance on the first full day of the meeting on Friday, when they were fastest in all six stages to open up a lead of almost one minute. That helped Rovanpera to take care of what was expected to be a long and difficult day on Saturday – where he still won the longest stage of the rally in almost 25 years while many of his rivals struggled.

With his lead of more than two minutes, Rovanpera was able to take a defensive approach through the final six stages of the final day with a competitive 74.38 kilometers, sealing victory with 1m37.8s.

Katsuta secured his third result from four starts in Kenya, repeating his second-place finish since 2021. He and co-driver Aaron Johnston ran a well-measured rally, winning two stages on Saturday to help them overcome two costly stumbles. them for a minute.

Elfin Evans and co-driver Scott Martin ensured that all three Toyotas finished inside the top four. He raced his way to second before retiring three times on a tough and rocky Saturday. That left a place out of reach, but he remained committed to scoring as many points as possible on Sunday, where he was third best on the afternoon and fifth in the Power Stage.

With its one-two finish, TGR-WRT took the top manufacturer points overall including 11 additional points on Sunday and advanced to four races. Evans took a total of 16 points from the weekend to keep him second in the driver standings, six off the lead.

Comments:

Akio Toyoda (TGR-WRT Chairman)

“To all the team members, thank you for the first win this season and for winning the Safari Rally Kenya for the fourth year in a row! Kalle, Jonne, thank you for another win in Kenya after two years, and thank you for your driving skills and running on those bad roads without any problems. Takamoto and Aaron, thank you for coming back to the track in Kenya after two years! It was great that you completed all the stages. Just before the pre-event test was held in Kenya in Portugal and it was raining at the time it was raining a lot. The team told me that it rained heavily “by chance” and many parts were broken. Unlike previous years, the meeting was held during the rain, and the engineers and mechanics continued to work on things including ways to deal with the rain until before the meeting started. the word “opportunity”, I remembered the words from the GR Yaris engineer. He always told me, one of the Toyota drivers, “Thank you for breaking the car the way it can. stay strong! ” So this time, on behalf of the team, I want to thank the rain in Portugal for making the GR Yaris Rally 1 stronger and bringing us the first victory. And of course I want to thank all the team members who prepared the car until the last minute. The same road can be a different road in different climates and conditions, and because we compete on such roads and in such conditions, the cars become stronger and our better car progresses. I believe that gathering is a game of this kind. The next results will be in two weeks. I hope everyone in the team takes care of their health and continues to make great cars. “

Jari-Matti Latvala (Team Principal)

“We are very happy to have won the Safari Rally again and the first win of the season here in Kenya. Kalle was in control of the rally from the start and very smart. He had no problems all weekend, thanks to the team that provided such a good car, and the way he drove, thinking about when to destroy the car and when to save the car. This seems to be his favorite meeting, and after the disappointment in Sweden, this is a great result for him and the team. Luck was not on Elfyn’s side but he was fighting hard and good to take. as many points as possible in this tournament. For now we will enjoy this moment and then we will work on Croatia.”

Kalle Rovanper? (Car driving 69)

“It’s special to win the Safari again. This event is very difficult and it’s very familiar to Toyota: we’ve been doing well here and we’re continuing the record. As they say in Africa The front is a Toyota car. I’m very grateful to the team, because everyone tried to make the car work very well. without problems and driving smartly. Today was difficult, driving the worst stage on the calendar twice when you have a big lead, trying to avoid everything, it’s not easy. We just had to stick to the plan and it worked.”

Elfin Evans (Drivers 33)

“It has not been an easy weekend for us, as long as we can reach the end of the meeting that is good, but we wanted more from this weekend. Today we had a good pace in the points but there were a few problems so we did not get as many points as we would have liked. The first start was not easy: the stage the opening was very difficult and maybe we were more careful there compared to the others. In the Power Stage we did something but before. in the first stage it was very difficult.”

Takamoto Katsuta (Driver car 18)

“I feel very good to finish second and to be on the podium again in Kenya. It was a difficult meeting like before, so we have to thank the team because they prepared very well and the car is working. Well I made a mistake yesterday we got punctures but I trust the car every time we need to push we can push and time It was great. Proud to drive this car.”

USE PLACE, SAFARI RALLY KENYA

1 Kalle Rovanper?/Jonne Halttunen (Toyota GR YARIS Rally1 HYBRID) 3h36m04.0s

2 Takamoto Katsuta/Aaron Johnston (Toyota GR YARIS Rally1 HYBRID) +1m37.8s

3 Adrien Fourmaux/Alexandre Coria (Ford (NYSE:) Puma Rally1 HYBRID) +2m25.1s

4 Elfin Evans/Scott Martin (Toyota GR YARIS Rally1 HYBRID) +4m20.2s

5 Thierry Neuville/Martijn Wydaeghe (Hyundai (OTC:) i20 N Rally1 HYBRID) +10m.17.5s

6 Gus Greensmith/Jonas Andersson (Skoda Fabia RS Rally2) +18m05.4s

7 Oliver Solberg/Elliott Edmondson (Skoda Fabia RS Rally2) +19m28.5s

8 Ott Tanak/Martin Jarveoja (Hyundai i20 N Rally1 HYBRID) +21m02.0s

9 Jourdan Serderidis/Frederic Miclotte (Ford Puma Rally1 HYBRID) +26m13.3s

10 Kajetan Kajetanowicz/Maciej Szczepaniak (Skoda Fabia RS Rally2) +26m34.4s

(Results at 15:30 on Sunday, for the latest results please visit www.wrc.com)

2024 FIA World Rally Championship for drivers after round 3:

1 Thierry Neuville 67 points

2 Elfin Evans 61

3 Adrien Fourmaux 46

4 Ott Tanaka 33

5 Kalle Rovanper? 31

6 Takamoto Katsuta 30

7 Sebastien Ogier 24

8 Esapekka Lapland 23

9 Oliver Solberg 12

10 Andreas Mikkelsen 6

2024 FIA World Rally Championship for manufacturers after round 3:

1 TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team 131 points

2 Hyundai Shell (LON:) Mobis World Rally Team 127

3 M-Sport Ford World Rally Team 72

What’s next?

Croatia Rally (April 18-21) takes place on challenging asphalt roads around the country’s capital, Zagreb. As well as a mix of fast and technical sections, these steps have a constant high and dynamic transition.

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