Toyota Gazoo Racing opened its 2024 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) season with a double podium end at Rallye Monte-Carlo yesterday (28 January), with Sébastien Ogier second and Elfyn Evans third.
Each drivers had been concerned in a struggle for victory all through the occasion, the place they confronted a difficult mixture of situations on the asphalt roads of the French Alps.
Ogier spectacularly claimed the lead throughout Saturday afternoon when he recorded the 700th stage win of his WRC profession; he went into the ultimate day simply 3.3 seconds away from first-placed Thierry Neuville (Hyundai).
Regardless of his finest efforts in pursuit of a record-extending victory in Monte Carlo, Ogier and his co-driver Vincent Landais ultimately needed to accept second place, ending 16.1s behind the winner.
Evans and his co-driver Scott Martin made a superb begin to their season when the rally obtained underway on Thursday night time, claiming an early lead that they held till Saturday morning.
After banking good factors underneath the championship’s new format by ending the penultimate day in third, Evans continued to push arduous on Sunday when further factors had been on provide for the quickest drivers. He took second in Sunday’s separate classification, plus fourth within the rally-ending Energy Stage, to finish the weekend with 21 factors and third place within the standings. Ogier, who was second within the Energy Stage and third-fastest throughout Sunday, is second on 24 factors.
Takamoto Katsuta was amongst a number of drivers caught out on an icy nook on Friday morning, shedding 5 minutes after sliding huge, however he confirmed sturdy tempo as he and co-driver Aaron Johnston recovered to seventh place general and likewise took third within the Energy Stage.
With second and third within the general outcomes, within the Sunday classification and within the Energy Stage, TGR-WRT leads the producers’ championship by one level.
The GR Yaris Rally2 made its aggressive WRC debut on the occasion with three of the 4 entered vehicles finishing the total rally distance within the fingers of buyer groups. Sami Pajari and Enni Mälkönen (Printsport) had been the best-placed crew on the end in 12th general and fifth at school RC2.
Jari-Matti Latvala (Staff Principal): “General it has been weekend for us to start out the season. In fact, we had been within the lead of the rally earlier within the weekend and issues had been wanting actually good. Issues then modified a bit and we hoped that we may bounce again as we speak on the ultimate day and take the victory. I feel Seb did what he may however it appears that evidently Neuville had a type of days the place as a driver you possibly can push your self to an additional degree. Nevertheless it was a terrific struggle that was thrilling for everyone to observe, and in the long run we obtained sturdy factors as a group for the producers’ championship. Elfyn additionally confirmed some nice tempo and confidence this weekend and I feel he was intelligent too in the long run to ensure he took away some good factors.”
Elfyn Evans (driver automotive 33): “We confirmed that the potential was there to win this weekend however we simply missed the sensation on Saturday afternoon for some motive. In the present day was a lot better. There was an actual mixture of situations once more however we needed to preserve pushing to attain some extra factors underneath the brand new system and it turned out OK. It’s been a stable sufficient weekend. We all the time wish to win, however above all I actually wished to complete this rally with stable factors and we’ve executed that. Long run, we wish to win rallies and we are going to see what’s doable on the subsequent rally in Sweden.”
Sébastien Ogier (driver automotive 17): “I feel I could be happy with my weekend, I attempted all the things I may. It’s been a tough week for me with an enormous rollercoaster of feelings. On Monday I needed to say goodbye to somebody crucial to me who mainly launched me to motorsport. The beginning of the occasion was not simple for a lot of causes, so I’m completely happy that we managed to remain within the struggle the entire method, and I feel it was an excellent thrilling struggle for the entire followers to observe. Ultimately, Thierry was sooner this weekend and he deserved the win. I nonetheless managed to deliver sturdy factors to the group. It’s additionally my 15th Rallye Monte-Carlo and 13th time on the rostrum right here, so I could be happy with my document on such a difficult rally.”
Takamoto Katsuta (driver automotive 18): “My rally modified after my mistake on Friday morning once we misplaced the chance to struggle for consequence, which was an enormous disappointment. I’m completely happy that I may deliver the automotive to the end in seventh and likewise rating some additional factors on Sunday and within the Energy Stage. The automotive was working very nicely and I loved the driving. After I felt snug and the dangers weren’t so excessive from the situations, I felt in a position to push and the occasions had been fairly good, in order that’s constructive. The subsequent rally in Sweden is one among my favorite rallies so I’ll strive my finest to get consequence there.”
PROVISIONAL FINAL CLASSIFICATION, RALLYE MONTE-CARLO
1 Thierry Neuville/Martijn Wydaeghe (Hyundai i20 N Rally1 HYBRID) 3h9m30.9s
2 Sébastien Ogier/Vincent Landais (Toyota GR YARIS Rally1 HYBRID) +16.1s
3 Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin (Toyota GR YARIS Rally1 HYBRID) +45.2s
4 Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja (Hyundai i20 N Rally1 HYBRID) +1m59.8s
5 Adrien Fourmaux/Alexandre Coria (Ford Puma Rally1 HYBRID) +3m36.9s
6 Andreas Mikkelsen/Torstein Eriksen (Hyundai i20 N Rally1 HYBRID) +5m34.6s
7 Takamoto Katsuta/Aaron Johnston (Toyota GR YARIS Rally1 HYBRID) +8m28.5s
8 Yohan Rossel/Arnaud Dunand (Citroën C3 Rally2) +10m29.8s
9 Pepe López/David Vázquez (Škoda Fabia RS Rally2) +10m33.8s
10 Nikolay Gryazin/Konstantin Aleksandrov (Citroën C3 Rally2) +10m45.2s
(Outcomes as of 13:30 on Sunday, for the confirmed, official outcomes please go to www.wrc.com)
2024 FIA World Rally Championship for drivers after spherical 1:
1 Thierry Neuville 30 factors
2 Sébastien Ogier 24
3 Elfyn Evans 21
4 Ott Tänak 15
5 Adrien Fourmaux 11
6 Takamoto Katsuta 9
7 Andreas Mikkelsen 6
2024 FIA World Rally Championship for producers after spherical 1:
1 TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Staff 46 factors
2 Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Staff 45
3 M-Sport Ford World Rally Staff 19
Rally Sweden (15-18 February) is the one full winter occasion of the season happening on snow and ice. Metallic studs inserted into the tyres chew into the floor to supply grip and permit for a number of the highest speeds of the 12 months.