The new breed of 2022 World Rally Championship contenders keep on coming as the first round of the season gets underway this week. We’ve seen the Hyundai i20 N, we’ve seen the Ford Puma. Now, meet the Toyota GR Yaris Rally1.
Looking wild in its Gazoo Racing clothes, the Rally1 builds outwards from the beloved GR Yaris road car, albeit mostly in appearance. Underneath is an entirely un-GR Yaris-like 134PS (100kW) hybrid system augmenting, at the behest of the drivers, a 500PS (367kW) 1.6-litre turbocharged engine. Likewise the spaceframe chassis is a far cry from what you’ll find in Toyota dealers. Rally1 cars also feature less sophisticated aero and a mechanical diff for 2022.
The GR Yaris Rally1 has quite the legacy to live up to, given its predecessor the Yaris WRC made 2021 its year, taking the manufacturer’s championship as Sébastien Ogier secured his eighth drivers’ title. The GR Yaris Rally1 will be the first new-generation car to turn a wheel in anger on Thursday as Rallye Monte-Carlo opens the 2022 season.
Four GR Yaris Rally1 cars will be running with three cars comprising the main team, with Elfyn Evans, Sébastien Ogier and Kalle Rovanpera at the wheel respectively. The fourth car will be running in a new-for-2022 team, Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team Next Generation, with Takamoto Katsuta at the wheel.
“Rallying is entering a very new era and it’s a very exciting moment,” said Jari-Matti Latvala, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT team principal.
“There are a lot of question marks and Rallye Monte-Carlo will be giving us some of the answers. As a team, we have been working very hard to be ready, but nobody can know how the different cars compare against each other until we get to the first rally. We might also see a difference between the drivers who feel the most confident with their new cars and those who will still be finding that confidence. For a driver, Monte Carlo has always been the most difficult rally in the championship.”