Toyota abandons plan for Ogier’s maiden Rally1 test

Sebastien Ogier’s maiden test of Toyota’s Rally1 2022 World Rally Championship challenger has been rescheduled following a crash in testing.

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Toyota has confirmed to Motorsport.com that an off during a test on asphalt roads in France on Wednesday has forced the team to abandon plans for Ogier to sample the new hybrid Rally1 GR Yaris for the first time.

It is understood Elfyn Evans was at the wheel of the Yaris when the car was involved in an incident. Both Evans and co-driver Scott Martin are believed to have emerged from the incident unscathed.

However, a Toyota spokesperson has confirmed that the team has been unable to repair the car and will now reschedule Ogier’s test, expected to take place on Thursday, to a later date.

The newly crowned eight-time world champion is expected to contest next year’s Monte Carlo Rally season opener in January, as part of a partial WRC campaign, after announcing plans to call time on his full-time career earlier this year.

Ogier has yet to drive the all-new hybrid Yaris with the bulk of the recent development being carried out by Kalle Rovanpera, who drove the car on Tuesday and Evans. The Welshman took over the running on Wednesday.

“There was an off today during testing, so unfortunately Ogier’s test had to be rescheduled,” a Toyota spokesperson told Motorsport.com.

“We were glad to see, that all the safety systems worked as they should, so in that sense it was all okay.

Sébastien Ogier, Julien Ingrassia, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota Yaris WRC

Sébastien Ogier, Julien Ingrassia, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota Yaris WRC

Photo by: Toyota Racing

 

“Unfortunately we weren’t able to fix the car for tomorrow (Thursday) onsite, so we have packed up and out test team is heading home.”

It is unclear when Ogier’s test will be rescheduled.

M-Sport Ford has also been testing in France with its Puma Rally1 to bolster preparations for next year’s season opener.

New signing Craig Breen is onsite while it is understood Adrien Fourmaux and the newly re-signed Gus Greensmith have been sharing the driving thus far.

It is also understood nine-time world champion Sebastien Loeb will drive the Puma this week in what will be his second test in the car after an outing last month.

Loeb has been heavily linked to a possible return to the WRC next year with the Frenchman tipped to compete at the Monte Carlo Rally.

Hyundai is also set to test its new-look final iteration of its Rally1 i20 this week with a six-day test to begin on Sunday.

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