Toyota City, Japan, Feb 9, 2024 - (JCN Newswire) - TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team hopes to add to its success on snow and ice when it contests the only pure winter event in the FIA World Rally Championship, Rally Sweden, on February 15-18.
It was in Sweden where TGR-WRT scored its first victory – in only its second event – back in 2017 with Jari-Matti Latvala, now Team Principal, behind the wheel. In all, the team has won four times from six starts in Sweden and will target a strong result in round two of the 2024 season after beginning the year with a double podium at Rallye Monte-Carlo last month.
Two-time world champion Kalle Rovanperä will commence his 2024 WRC programme on Rally Sweden, where he previously claimed victory in 2022. He lines up alongside Elfyn Evans, who took his first win with the team in Sweden in 2020, and Takamoto Katsuta, who has also tasted success on the event in the past.
A fourth GR YARIS Rally1 HYBRID will be driven by Lorenzo Bertelli as part of TGR-WRT’s customer programme. Rally Sweden is one of the Italian driver’s favourite rallies, and where he took part in his first event with the team one year ago.
Following its debut at Rallye Monte-Carlo, a total of seven GR Yaris Rally2 cars will compete in WRC2 in Sweden. Sami Pajari (Printsport) is joined on the entry list by Georg Linnamäe (RedGrey Team), Mikko Heikkilä (TGS), Roope Korhonen (Rautio Motorsport), Jan Solans (Teo Martín Motorsport) as well as the TGR WRC Challenge Program duo of Yuki Yamamoto and Hikaru Kogure.
Since 2022, Rally Sweden has been based in Umeå, the largest city in northern Sweden and a short trip across the Gulf of Bothnia from Finland where TGR-WRT is based. The event’s move north – it now takes place closer to the Arctic Circle than to the capital city Stockholm – has helped to ensure extreme winter conditions and also brought even faster roads. With special studded tyres that bite into the surface to provide impressive grip, this is one the quickest rallies of the season, with drivers ‘leaning’ their cars on snow banks by the sides of the road to carry more speed through corners.
As last year, the rally will begin with a short ‘sprint’ stage in Umeå on Thursday evening. This will be repeated at the end of Friday following two loops of three stages: the Brattby and Floda tests are identical to last year, but much of Norrby is new. Saturday has a similar format with a trio of repeated tests beginning with the all-new Vännäs, followed by the familiar Sarsjöliden, while Bygdsiljum includes some of last year’s Botsmark stage. A double-length version of the Umeå stage rounds out the day and, as in 2023, will also be run as the rally-ending Power Stage on Sunday when it follows two passes of a revised Västervik test.
For more information, visit https://toyotagazooracing.com/wrc/release/2024/rd02-preview/.