Rallye Monte-Carlo: Day 4 Strong debut for the GR YARIS Rally1 with second place for Ogier

The TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team has completed a strong debut event for the new GR YARIS Rally1 with Sébastien Ogier claiming second overall and Kalle Rovanperä finishing fourth at Rallye Monte-Carlo.

Car 1 (Sébastien Ogier, Benjamin Veillas)
Car 1 (Sébastien Ogier, Benjamin Veillas)

Ogier had been on course to claim a record-extending ninth win on the famous event before a cruel late twist in the thrilling weekend-long battle for the victory, suffering a flat front-left tyre on the penultimate stage of the rally. The time lost turned his lead of 24.6 seconds into a deficit of 9.5s. Along with new co-driver Benjamin Veillas, Ogier gave his all in the final stage and, having been handed a 10-second penalty for a jump start, finished just 10.5s from the win.

Fourth was an impressive result for Rovanperä and his co-driver Jonne Halttunen, who made huge strides forward in pace and confidence in their new car from Saturday onwards. In all they claimed three stage wins, including on the rally-ending Power Stage. The five bonus points put Rovanperä third in the championship as the leading full-season contender, with Ogier to contest selected events this year after stepping away from full-time competition.

Elfyn Evans was also in the battle for the lead until he went off the road on Saturday’s SS11 and lost 20 minutes. On the final day he set his sights on scoring bonus points in the Power Stage and completed a one-two in the stage for the GR YARIS Rally1.

All three of the team’s drivers claimed stage wins over the weekend and the car was fastest on nine of the 17 stages. It demonstrated both impressive performance and reliability despite the challenges of the new Rally1 regulations, which included the introduction of hybrid power to rallying’s top level for the first time. In Monaco to join the team and witness the GR YARIS Rally1’s successful debut was Kazuki Nakajima, the recently-appointed Vice Chairman of TOYOTA GAZOO Racing Europe.

TGR WRC Challenge Program driver Takamoto Katsuta recorded his third consecutive Rallye Monte-Carlo finish in the top category and claimed eighth place overall, setting a pair of top-three stage times on the final day and scoring the first points for the newly-established TGR WRT Next Generation.

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