Toyota joins WRC royalty with manufacturers' title three-peat

Toyota has hailed a third consecutive World Rally Championship manufacturers’ title as “unique” in the series’ fiercely competitive modern era.

Elfyn Evans, Scott Martin, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota GR Yaris Rally1

The Japanese brand has become only the sixth marque to achieve a manufacturers’ title three-peat, joining Lancia, Subaru, Citroen, Peugeot and Volkswagen in the WRC’s 50-year history.

Toyota sealed its seventh WRC manufacturers’ title and third in row at Rally Chile after defeating rival Hyundai with two rounds of the season remaining.

Elfyn Evans led home the trio of GR Yaris’ in third ahead of drivers’ title rival Kalle Rovanpera and Takamoto Katsuta, who finished fifth.

The team only needed to outscore Hyundai by 13 points to seal the crown, a prospect that was made possible following Teemu Suninen’s retirement from second on the penultimate stage.

Reflecting on the success, team principal Jari-Matti Latvala pinpointed reliability as the defining factor that has earned titles from 2021-23, a period when the championship has been highly competitive.

In the past three seasons, Toyota has won 24 of 36 rallies while this season it has only failed to score a podium finish at Rally Sweden in February. Its most dominant display arrived in Kenya after recording a 1-2-3-4 for the second successive season.

“First of all, I’m really proud of the team and the drivers and all the work we have done during the season,” said Latvala.

“It has been an incredible job because we are getting the title two rounds before the end of the season, and it is the earliest that we have ever won the title as Toyota Gazoo Racing, so it shows that we have done things right and also the drivers have done a great job.

Jari-Matti Latvala, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT

Jari-Matti Latvala, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT

Photo by: McKlein / Motorsport Images

“Of course there is excitement now because our drivers are still fighting for the title and it is exciting to see who it is going to be.

“I would say this is a relief and some weight is now off of our shoulders now we have this manufacturers' title.

“For sure, it [three titles in a row] is unique [in the modern era]. It is not easy to do that and I have to say the competition level is hard, the cars are very close to each other.

“I think the most important part where we have made the difference is the reliability and we have been able to bring the cars home without problems and I think that for the championship is one of the crucial points.”

Latvala also praised his team’s work in developing the GR Yaris particularly in rough gravel conditions, which proved to be its weakness last season.

“When the Rally1 came to the WRC in 2022 season, of course we were strong but we noticed our weaknesses especially on hard, rough gravel,” he added.

“We have done some work on that and managed to improve the car on those conditions.

“It was really nice to see and I think this continuous development and approach to make ever better cars has helped us to win the titles.”

Related video

Previous article WRC Chile: Tanak masterclass delivers victory for M-Sport
Next article Suninen apologises to Hyundai for costly WRC Rally Chile mistake