Toyota City, Japan, Feb 18, 2022 – (JCN Newswire via SEAPRWire.com) – The TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team has its sights set on a successful second event for its new GR YARIS Rally1 car on Rally Sweden (February 25-27), the only true winter round of the FIA World Rally Championship season held on high-speed roads covered in snow and ice.
The team intends to build on a promising start to the WRC’s new Rally1 era at Rallye Monte-Carlo last month, where the hybrid-powered GR YARIS proved reliable and fast on its debut and was only cruelly denied victory on the penultimate stage.
With Sweden not part of Sebastien Ogier’s programme of selected rallies this season, Esapekka Lappi will make his first start in the team’s colours since 2018. Kalle Rovanpera will open the road in Sweden as the highest-placed driver in the standings after finishing fourth and winning the Power Stage on Rallye Monte-Carlo. Elfyn Evans was part of the lead battle on round one before a small but costly mistake ended his chances of a strong result; he will hope for a repeat of the championship’s last visit to Sweden in 2020 when he scored his first victory for Toyota. As on every round this season, Takamoto Katsuta will drive an additional GR YARIS Rally1 for TGR WRT Next Generation.
For this year, Rally Sweden has moved further north to a new home in Umea, the largest city in northern Sweden. Its location is closer to the Arctic Circle than to the capital city Stockholm, which means extreme winter conditions are more likely. The stages will all be brand-new to the WRC but the characteristics that make it one of the most popular and spectacular rallies on the calendar will remain. Special studded tyres bite into the surface to provide grip on roads that are lined with snow banks, which drivers lean on to carry more speed through the corners.
Cars are set-up in loose-surface specification and TOYOTA GAZOO Racing has prepared over recent weeks with two days of testing on snow and ice for each driver: one in Finland and one in Sweden.
After a shakedown on Thursday, the rally will get underway on Friday morning with a loop of three stages to the north of Umea. This will include the longest stage of the rally, Kamsjon, at 27.81 kilometres. All three will be repeated in the afternoon before a short “sprint” stage in Umea itself rounds out the day. A longer version of the Umea stage is run twice on Saturday, as are two other tests to the west of the city. Sunday’s closing leg takes place to the north-west with a pair of stages run twice.
For more information, visit https://toyotagazooracing.com/wrc/release/2022/rd02-preview/.
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