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Toyota shuffles its WRC producer factors scorers for Portugal

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Reigning constructor world champions Toyota will subject each its part-time drivers in the identical occasion for the primary time this season in Portugal subsequent week because it appears to be like to widen its seven-point hole over Hyundai within the championship.

Consequently, Toyota has nominated present world champion Rovanpera and eight-time world champion Ogier to attain producer factors alongside this yr’s title contender Elfyn Evans. Rovnapera has received the earlier two Portugal WRC rounds, whereas Ogier is a five-time winner of the occasion – sharing the report for probably the most victories with Markku Alen. It means the workforce’s different full-time driver Katsuta will likely be preventing purely for driver factors on Portugal’s gravel roads.     

Toyota workforce principal Jari-Matti Latvala acknowledged at the beginning of the season that the producers crown was the workforce’s first goal and says the championship’s new factors system has made tougher to make an impression. 

“It is going to be nice to have all 4 of our drivers with us in Portugal. This yr we needed to convey all of them collectively on not less than one rally and this was alternative to do it,” mentioned Latvala.

“With the brand new factors system, it’s been troublesome to make huge variations within the producers’ championship up to now. In Portugal we could have three drivers which have received the occasion earlier than, plus Taka who has additionally been very quick, so it’s a robust line-up for this rally.

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“Kalle has been very profitable there the final two years, whereas Seb has received it 5 instances earlier than. Elfyn’s highway place could possibly be tougher, however he simply must preserve concentrating on maximising his factors towards his championship rivals.

“Taka has additionally been driving very nicely and has the potential to struggle for the rostrum. However we all know the competitors will likely be sturdy and I’m certain will probably be one other huge struggle for the highest positions in Portugal.”

Whereas Katsuta says he received’t have the “stress” of preventing for producer factors, the Japanese driver has a podium in his sights having come shut on two events prior to now, ending fourth in 2021 and 2022.

“Portugal is principally my favorite rally in fact and I’ll attempt to do my greatest,” Katsuta advised Autosport.

“I’m not scoring factors for the workforce so there will likely be no stress and no stress. I’ll attempt to do the utmost that I can.

“My primary goal is to get a podium as I’ve completed fourth twice there. If the tempo is basically good all weekend I’ll attempt to push as a lot as I can.”

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