Toyota Gazoo Racing set to continue WRC wins in Portugal
The Toyota Gazoo Racing (GR) World Rally Team is ready to take on the Rally de Portugal, the first gravel round of the 2021 World Rally Championship (WRC) season, on May 20 to 23.
Following a one-two finish in the last event in Croatia, Toyota GR said it leads the manufacturers’ championship and the drivers’ standings. The team's driver Sébastien Ogier holds first place after two victories in the first three rallies of the season.
Elfyn Evans is third, 10 points behind his teammate, and Kalle Rovanperä fifth, within 22 points of the lead. Once again, Takamoto Katsuta will be behind the wheel of a fourth Yaris WRC car in Portugal as part of the Toyota GR WRC Challenge Program. Katsuta aims for three back-to-back top-six finishes.
The team continues to develop the Toyota Yaris WRC car during its fifth season of competition. After an update to the car’s aerodynamic package that debuted in Croatia, a new engine will be introduced in Portugal with improvements in power and reliability, Toyota GR added.
This WRC car is powered by a 1.6-liter direct injection turbo engine that's said to pack more than 380hp.
After events on ice, snow, and asphalt so far this season, Portugal marks the first in a run of consecutive events on gravel, the team added.
Returning to the calendar after the 2020 edition was cancelled amid the pandemic, the rally stage is based in Matosinhos on the edge of the country’s second largest city Porto.
It contains "fast but technical roads." The surface is also usually soft and sandy at first, offering limited grip, but can often become rocky and rutted for the second pass.
“It’s great to be going back to Portugal. It’s one of the most special rallies for me personally: It was where I achieved my first WRC victory in 2010, and we have had several wins since then as well," Sébastien Ogier expressed.
The rally driver added: "Portugal is also a country where there is a huge passion for motorsport and especially rallying, and we always have fantastic support there.
This time, we know we will probably have to face tough conditions opening the road, but Portugal is a place where we can have rain at this time of year, and that is always what you hope for in this situation."
On the other hand, those who'd like to be like Ogier can get the GR Yaris in select local Toyota dealerships. This rally-inspired pocket rocket has a 1.6-liter turbocharged engine capable of delivering 257hp and 360Nm of torque.
The GR Yaris also packs the all-wheel drive tech used in WRC.
Photos from Toyota Gazoo Racing and Toyota