Toyota Gazoo Racing’s new driver line-up of Sébastien Ogier, Elfyn Evans and Kalle Rovanperä put in a strong performance in the FIA World Rally Championship season-opener at Rallye Monte-Carlo.
Despite the team brining two of the cars in to top three on Sunday, the Toyota Motor Corporation President Akio Toyoda talked of his regret what could have been the first win for Toyota in Monte-Carlo in 22-years.
Toyoda praised Tommi Mäkinen’s team efforts as the team brought all four cars home in top seven but urged Toyota Gazoo Racing to make the Toyota Yaris WRC stronger.
Ogier and Evans made it to the podium as they finished second and third respectively, Rovanperä finished fifth while Toyota Gazoo Racing development driver Katsuta Takamoto finished seventh. Ogier and Evans both won a total of 16 stages but lost out to Hyundai’s Theirry Neuville on the last day of the rally.
“I am happy to see this new team begin with all four Yaris WRC finishing in the points, and two cars finishing on the podium, with Ogier / Ingrassia second and Evans / Martin third. This is a great start to the season,” Toyoda commented.
“However, I reiterated our slogan ‘we hate to lose’ with the new drivers two weeks ago when we held the press conference in Tokyo. So, I believe everyone, including me, has a little bit of regret in this season opener.
“As I said, this year’s team is a team where all drivers can win. Let’s fight hard together to target the top of the podium and keep working together to make the Yaris stronger,” Toyoda added.