The GAZOO Racing (GR) World Rally Team is celebrating its second consecutive victory, after Ott Tänak followed his Rally Finland triumph by securing first place at the recent Rallye Deutschland, during the World Rally Championship (WRC) organized by the International Automobile Federation or Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA). The race also marked the Toyota Yaris WRC’s maiden win on asphalt. As in Finland, the team achieved a double podium result, with Esapekka Lappi finishing in third place, enabling Toyota to climb to the second position in the manufacturers' championship and placing the team within 13 points of the lead.
The ninth event of the calendar, Rallye Deutschland features terrain so diverse that it can be thought of as three asphalt rallies in one: the twisting roads through the vineyards overlooking the Mosel River close to Trier, the many challenging surfaces of the notoriously tough Baumholder military training area, and the fast and narrow country lanes around the service park at Bostalsee Lake in the Saarland region.
With tire choice and car set-up further complicated by the often-changeable weather conditions, the Toyota Yaris WRC’s versatility proved a decisive factor in the team’s victory. The car features a 1.6-liter turbocharged, direct injection engine that produces over 300bhp, a six-speed hydraulic shift gearbox, and a solid chassis shaped by advanced simulation, testing and production techniques.
Tommi Mäkinen, Team Principal, said: "This is another great moment for our team. Ott has once again been outstanding all weekend. Esapekka had a brilliant clean drive with no mistakes, which are very easy to make on this rally. Everybody has worked very hard to achieve this great result on asphalt, and we are all motivated to give maximum effort for the rest of the year.
“We are very excited by the team’s outstanding performance, and I would like to congratulate them on attaining a double podium finish in this challenging race – a magnificent achievement that demonstrates their skills and determination,” said Yugo Miyamoto, Chief Representative of Middle East & North Africa Representative Office, Toyota Motor Corporation. “Toyota is committed to building ‘ever-better’ cars, and motorsport is one of the means by which the skills of our people and the quality of our products can be further honed to achieve that aim. We extend our gratitude to our fans for their ongoing support and belief in our abilities and their constant encouragement.”
Tänak was the front-runner for most of the race, only briefly conceding the lead after SS2. He carried an advantage of 43.7 seconds into the final day, which he managed carefully through the two runs over the 29-kilometer Grafschaft vineyard test. The win was sealed on the Bosenberg Power Stage, where he came within 0.1s of repeating his fastest time in Finland.
Rallye Deutschland is the third race that Tänak and co-driver Martin Järveoja's have won since joining Toyota this year. It is also the pair's second victory at this event in as many years, and one that brings Tänak closer to the two drivers currently ahead of him in the championship.
Lappi started the day in fifth position, moving up into third with a clean run through the first stage. He was third fastest on the Power Stage, as he and co-driver Janne Ferm steered their Toyota Yaris WRC to a second podium finish in the space of three events, and their first on asphalt. The result strengthens Lappi's fourth place in the drivers' standings in his first full season at this level.
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 ‘GAZOO Racing’ (GR), 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,’ GAZOO Racing (GR) 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, ‘GAZOO Racing’ (GR) aims to forge new technologies and solutions that bring the freedom, adventure, and joy of driving to everyone.
The 2018 season marks the second year of the GAZOO Racing (GR) team’s mission to harness experience from motorsport to make ever-better cars. The team enjoyed a successful debut year in 2017 that included victories at Rally Sweden and Rally Finland, and finished third in the manufacturers’ championship.
The team will be looking to build on their success at Rally Turkey, the tenth round of the 2018 World Rally Championship, which takes place on 13-16 September.