Rally New Zealand: PreviewTOYOTA GAZOO Racing is looking forward to another classic return







The TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team makes its first trip to Rally New Zealand, determined to battle for the top spots when the event’s popular gravel roads take to the world stage from 29 September to 2 October for Round 11 of the 2022 FIA World Rally Championship to return.

After a disappointing weekend on the bumpy and rocky roads of Acropolis Rally Greece, the team is looking forward to going to New Zealand with a 63-point lead in the Manufacturers’ Championship, while Kalle Rovanperä leads the Drivers’ Championship by 53 points and has his best opportunity to to clinch his first title if he can add eight more points to his lead.

Joining Rovanperä and Elfyn Evans – who are making their Rally New Zealand debuts – will be reigning World Champion Sébastien Ogier, who finished a close second on his last visit to New Zealand in 2010 and returns to the team’s line-up for the final three rounds of the Season. Takamoto Katsuta will be another New Zealand rookie in his TGR WRT Next Generation outing.

Back on the WRC calendar after 10 years, Rally New Zealand is renowned for its fast and flowing stages, weaving through the stunning scenery of the country’s North Island. The smooth gravel roads are characterized by their pronounced curvature, which drivers can use to bring more speed through the curves.

The rally will take place in New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland, with the service park right on the waterfront and the opening stage taking place at Pukekawa Auckland Domain Park on Thursday evening. Friday then features more than half of the rally’s competitive distance, with 158.56km to be driven over two loops of classic stages south around Raglan, starting with the iconic Whaanga Coast, followed by two stages around Te Akau. A raglan tire fitting zone separates the two loops, rather than a full service. Saturday takes place north of Auckland, with two more rounds of three stages running either side of the service, while Sunday consists of two repeating stages on the east side of the city, with the second pass of the purpose-built Jack’s Ridge serving as a rally – power amplifier.

Quotes:
Jari-Matti Latvala (Team Principal)

“Personally, I’m really looking forward to returning to New Zealand and I think it’s a rally our team can look forward to as well. Greece was obviously disappointing for us and we can learn lessons from that to be stronger in similar races in rallies in the future. But Rally New Zealand is a very different gravel rally. The surface is smoother, the roads are fast and flowing, and the camber makes you feel like you’re dancing with the car. The roads are fantastic and you don’t have to find them anywhere else in the WRC. I had the pleasure of winning there myself in 2010, actually in a very close finish with Sébastien. It will be a new challenge for the rest of our drivers but I think they will all enjoy these roads and I am confident that we can fight for victory again.”

Disclaimer

Toyota Motor Corporation published this content on September 22, 2022 and is solely responsible for the information contained therein. Distributed by the public, unedited and unmodified, on 22 Sep 2022 10:09:10 UTC.

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