Toyota completes first full test of 2022 Rally1 WRC car
Toyota Gazoo Racing has completed the first full test of its 2022-specification World Rally Championship car in Portugal.
Played out on gravel roads, the test of the team's new Rally1 car was overseen by the team's technical director, Tom Fowler, and follows the first running of the GR Yaris-based competition car with its hybrid kit in Finland earlier this month.
On that occasion, the squad's recognised test driver Juho Hanninen covered 600km in the supermini.
Confirmation of the Rally1 car's presence in Portugal came in a video on the team's YouTube channel this afternoon.
Although heavily camouflaged - much like those cars rolled out by M-Sport Ford and Hyundai Motorsport - the air inlets needed to channel cool air to the battery pack located in the boot are clearly visible.
Fans also get a first glimpse of the cockpit, and the new safety-cell structure that protects the crew.
The cage is another key component of next year's regulations and one that has been spearheaded by the FIA, with Fowler describing it as "a step forward" from a safety perspective.
On the latest test programme – which followed last weekend's Rally de Portugal – Fowler said: "We started our test programme in Finland where we have done some shakedown running and system checks over there.
"It is a really exciting project because so many things have changed; we have had to go back to the drawing board on almost the complete car and systems.
"It has been a real pleasure to work with our excellent team of engineers, designers and technicians to get this car ready and now we are here on the stages of Portugal to put the car through its paces on European gravel roads and really start to experience what the World Rally Championship has to show for a WRC car.
"We are going to collect a lot of data, and go back to our base in Finland where our engineers and designers will go through all of that information to prepare the next steps of the development which will take place in Finland, and around other test sites in Europe until the end of the year when we will homologate the car for Monte Carlo at the start of the 2022 season," he added.
WRC rival M-Sport Ford has also been putting its Rally1 mule through its paces this week across the border in Spain. Team boss Malcolm Wilson revealed the purpose of that was "to do some real endurance in rough conditions".
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