TGRNZ thrilled with rally and ‘home’ championship win
TOYOTA GAZOO Racing New Zealand (TGRNZ) enjoyed an awesome weekend at the Repco Rally New Zealand with a world championship win, home success and one of its most dynamic ever customer experiences.
Finnish ace Kalle Rovanperä re-wrote the FIA World Rally Championship record books after taking a historic title with a famous victory in the rally. The 22 year old TOYOTA GAZOO Racing driver became the youngest driver in the history of the sport to lift the crown – smashing the record for youngest champ previously held by Colin McRae, who won in 1995 at the age of 27.
Rovanperä and co-driver Jonne Halttunen required seven more points than Hyundai i20N rival Ott Tänak to take the title at the Auckland-based event, the 11th round of the 2022 WRC.
With a solid lead from Saturday in his back pocket, he remained unchallenged over Sunday’s final four gravel tests and emerged from the rally-ending Wolf Power Stage with the title – heading a GR Yaris 1-2 by 34.6sec ahead of eight-time world champion Sébastien Ogier.
There was also home interest and success for the motorsport arm of Toyota New Zealand as well, with local favourite Jack Hawkeswood finishing third in class in his brand new Toyota Yaris AP4 car.
The weekend’s thriller was the first WRC Rally New Zealand for a decade and it brought tens of thousands out in challenging weather to cheer on the top rally drivers in the world as they took on New Zealand’s legendary stages.
It also represented a golden opportunity for TGRNZ to activate its involvement with fans and immerse them in the WRC rally experience showing them what the GR brand is all about.
“It really was an awesome weekend despite the weather and of course it was fantastic to have the sport’s youngest ever world champion crowned here on our shores, a really special moment for us as a team, organisation and of course for the rally organisers who worked so hard over the past few years to make it all happen,” said TGRNZ Motorsport Manager Nicolas Caillol.
“We were able to get our guests up close and personal to the garages and show them exactly how it all works in the heart of a World Rally Championship event – a unique experience for most and a tremendous event for all of us at TOYOTA GAZOO Racing New Zealand. It was without question one of the most exciting experiences we have ever been able to offer for our GR customers.”
Toyota president and team for the global TOYOTA GAZOO Racing team, Akio Toyoda said that: “Toyota New Zealand gave us strong support to boost the event’s return for the first time in 10 years. I would like to thank everyone who contributed so much to this victory and this great weekend.”
TGRNZ now turns its attention towards the forthcoming summer circuit racing season, where it expects a full field of international drivers for its Castrol Toyota Racing Series and its domestic Toyota 86 Championship.