TOYOTA GAZOO RACING LOOK TO MAINTAIN WINNING STREAK ON WALES RALLY GB
Toyota Gazoo Racing are the in-form outfit as the World Rally Championship heads to the forests of Wales this week on the back of three successive victories for Ott Tänak in the Yaris WRC, in Finland, Germany and Turkey.
The driving trio of Tänak, Jari Matti Latvala and Esapekka Lappi, will be looking to consolidate Toyota’s position at the top of the manufacturers’ championship, while Tänak has the chance to strengthen his late-season bid for the drivers’ title.
The Dayinsure Wales Rally GB is contested on gravel stages that are relatively fast when dry, but which can quickly become muddy and slippery if rain and fog set in. Conditions may be more predictable this year, as the event is taking place three weeks earlier than usual and follows a hot and dry summer. However, heavy rain fell during the team’s pre-event test sessions last week.
Tänak is optimistic about the team’s chances: “Normally, Rally GB is an event that I like. In an ideal world, I would like to have dry conditions and fast roads, but everybody knows that anything can happen when it comes to the weather in Wales. During our test last week it was raining quite a lot so we had a nice amount of mud, which was perfect for testing really. We did a good job and I’m looking forward to seeing how we compare against our rivals. Everything is possible now in the championship and I have a good feeling about what we can do in Britain,” he said.
The action starts on Thursday with a spectator stage in front of crowds at the Tir Prince raceway. Three stages in North Wales will follow on Friday, each run twice either side of service at the Deeside Industrial Park, adjacent to Toyota’s UK engine factory. The programme will include two passes through a short, new Slate Mountain test.
Saturday will feature nine classic Mid-Wales stages, covering more than 90 miles with no mid-day service, just a tyre-fitting zone. The rally will conclude with five stages on Sunday, including two runs over an asphalt course around the Great Orme headland and onto the streets of Llandudno where the finish will take place. The Power Stage will be the first run through Gwydir, rather than the final stage of the day.
Toyota Official Car Partner to Dayinsure Wales Rally GB
Toyota will have a high profile throughout the event as the rally’s Official Car Partner, supplying a fleet of liveried vehicles for use by the rally’s organisation team, safety crews and international dignitaries.
The breadth and versatility of the Toyota range will be represented, with Land Cruiser SUVs used as safety cars running through the rally route ahead of the cars, Hilux pick-ups helping with the set-up of the special stages – including the street stage in Llandudno – and Proace Verso MPVs ferrying personnel between venues.
C-HR hybrid electric crossovers will also be used. Appropriately these feature engines produced at Toyota Manufacturing UK’s plant in Deeside, home to the event’s Rally Village headquarters since 2013.