The reigning WRC constructors’ champions have introduced new contracts with Rovanpera, Elfyn Evans, Sebastien Ogier and Takamoto Katsuta following Toyota’s dominant 1-2-3 eventually weekend’s season finale in Japan. Rovanpera, Evans and Ogier every scored three wins this 12 months to assist Toyota to a sixth world title.
Evans, runner-up to Rovanpera in his 12 months’s title race, will contest a full season alongside Katsuta, whereas eight-time world champion Ogier is ready for a 3rd partial marketing campaign after retiring from full-time competitors on the finish of 2021.
Newly topped two-time world champion Rovanpera has signed a brand new multi-year deal however will solely contest a part-time programme in 2024.
Rovanpera needs to “recharge his batteries” from the calls for of the WRC subsequent 12 months earlier than returning for a full-time programme in 2025.
The 23-year-old made the step as much as WRC’s high flight in 2020 with Toyota and has since scored 11 wins on his solution to back-to-back world titles in 2022-2023. This 12 months he grew to become solely the sixth driver in WRC historical past to defend the world title.
“I’m actually excited to have signed a multi-year contract with TGR-WRT and to proceed working with the group,” mentioned Rovanpera, whose precise 2024 schedule is but to be outlined.
“Subsequent 12 months I’m solely going to be driving among the occasions and the most important motive for that is that I’ve been driving rally automobiles for 15 years already, which is sort of a very long time, and whereas the final seasons have been wonderful after all, they’ve additionally been actually demanding mentally and bodily.
“So I felt that now could be a great second to take a 12 months for recharging the batteries, after which come again once more full-time to struggle for the championship as soon as extra with a full assault.”
Picture by: Toyota Racing
Podium: Winners Elfyn Evans, Scott Martin, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota GR Yaris Rally1, second place Sébastien Ogier, Vincent Landais, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota GR Yaris Rally1, third place Kalle Rovanperä, Jonne Halttunen, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota GR Yaris Rally1
After securing a 3rd consecutive constructors’ title Toyota group principal Jari-Matti Latvala had no motive to change his driver line-up for subsequent 12 months.
“We’re very glad to be protecting our profitable driver line-up collectively for the long run,” mentioned Latvala. “It’s nice to know that we’ve got such a powerful squad of drivers who really feel at dwelling in our automobile and our group and wish to proceed working with us.
“Kalle’s programme can be a bit totally different in 2024 however the essential factor for us is that he’s a Toyota driver and he desires to stick with the group and maintain having fun with his ardour for rallying.
“Despite the fact that he’s younger, he has been driving rally automobiles at a severe stage for a very long time and he feels a part-campaign could be greatest for him now in order that we are able to look ahead to extra full seasons collectively sooner or later.
“It’s additionally nice that Seb continues with us, and it signifies that along with Kalle, we could have two a number of world champions as sturdy belongings in our defence of the producers’ championship.
“Elfyn has proven us once more this 12 months that he can win rallies and compete for championships, and we all know he’ll give his greatest efforts in each rally. Taka proved at Rally Finland this 12 months that he could be up there within the quickest rallies and hopefully we are able to see him as a contender for podiums in nearly each rally subsequent season.”
Following a a lot stronger marketing campaign after a winless 2022, Evans has his sights set on difficult for the 2024 title.
Picture by: Toyota Racing
Sébastien Ogier, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT, Elfyn Evans, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT
“We’ve continued to make progress this 12 months. I’m eager to construct on that and be even higher in 2024. We’ve got much more to attain collectively and I’m excited in regards to the future,” mentioned Evans.
Ogier had been anticipated to stay part-time having loved the work life steadiness his part-time position provides.
“I actually like the connection that I’ve with the entire group and for me there was by no means any doubt that I wished to remain in TGR overalls,” mentioned Ogier. “I additionally actually benefit from the steadiness that this sort of partial programme provides me, and subsequent season ought to be fairly comparable in that respect.”
Receiving a promotion to the second GR Yaris for 2024, Katsuta is eager to construct on the rostrum he scored in Finland this 12 months.
“I realized quite a bit this 12 months. There have been some rallies that have been good for me and a few that weren’t so good, however these have made me stronger and can hopefully assist me sooner or later,” mentioned Katsuta.
“Subsequent 12 months can be essential to show what I can do, and I’ll attempt to make it one of the best season of my profession to this point.”