Toyota City, Japan, Jul 28, 2023 - (JCN Newswire) - TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team aims to strengthen its lead of the FIA World Rally Championship when it competes on home roads at Rally Finland (August 3-6), the fastest and most spectacular event of the season.
2023 GR YARIS Rally1 HYBRID
The rally will be a homecoming not only for TGR-WRT, which is headquartered in host city Jyvaskyla, but also for its reigning world champions Kalle Rovanpera and Jonne Halttunen, who both hail from the central Finnish city. This will be the first time the pair have competed in a WRC round on home soil since securing their maiden world titles last October, when Rovanpera became the youngest ever drivers' champion.
The 22-year-old now returns home fresh from a dominant victory last week on similarly fast gravel roads in neighbouring Estonia, which increased his championship lead to 55 points with five rounds remaining.
Completing the TGR-WRT manufacturer line-up for the event will be Elfyn Evans, currently second in the championship and winner of Rally Finland with the team in 2021, and Takamoto Katsuta, who has lived in Jyvaskyla for several years after moving from Japan with the TGR WRC Challenge Program.
Jari-Matti Latvala will also make an exciting return to the driving seat on his home event in a fourth GR YARIS Rally1 HYBRID at the invitation of TGR-WRT Chairman, Akio Toyoda, who will take on the duties of Team Principal in Finland on Latvala's behalf.
The gravel roads in the forests around Jyvaskyla are considered to be rallying's spiritual home, renowned for their smooth and fast nature and their numerous crests and jumps. This year, the hugely popular event will kick-off with a ceremonial start on Wednesday evening prior to Thursday morning's shakedown.
The traditional mixed-surface Harju stage in Jyvaskyla opens the competitive action on Thursday evening, and will be run again at the end of Friday after two passes of four stages to the north-east: classic stages Laukaa and Lankamaa are heavily revised, while the legendary Myhinpaa returns for the first time since 2015 and Halttula was last visited in 1995.
As usual, Saturday is the longest day of the rally at 160.68 competitive kilometres and takes the action further south-west with the opening Vastila stage, last run in 2001. Paijala, Rapsula and Vekkula complete the repeated loop, taking in some classic Rally Finland roads. Sunday has a new look, the reversed Moksi-Sahloinen paired with a new Power Stage ending at the Himos ski resort, which also hosts the podium ceremony.
For more information, visit https://toyotagazooracing.com/wrc/release/2023/rd09-preview/.
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