Rovanperä and Halttunen secure second consecutive WRC titles at Central European Rally
Toyota GAZOO Racing (TGR) World Rally Team's dynamic duo, Kalle Rovanperä and co-driver Jonne Halttunen, have clinched their second consecutive FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) titles, showcasing their prowess in the No. 69 GR YARIS Rally1 Hybrid Electric vehicle during the penultimate round of the thrilling 2023 season, the Central European Rally.
In a remarkable feat, 23-year-old Rovanperä, who made history as the youngest-ever World Rally Champion in 2022 with the No. 69 GR YARIS Rally1 Hybrid Electric vehicle, now joins an elite club as the sixth driver to secure back-to-back titles in the WRC's rich history.
This victory marks the fifth consecutive year that a TGR crew has dominated the drivers' and co-drivers' championship. Adding to this impressive streak, the team secured a third consecutive hat-trick of titles by clinching the manufacturers' championship in the preceding Rally Chile.
TGR-WRT Chairman, Akio Toyoda, praised the winning duo, stating, "Kalle, Jonne, congratulations on winning your second consecutive drivers’ and co-drivers’ championship titles! Kalle steadily accumulated points and started to lead the drivers’ standings from the middle of the season, showing us what a strong champion is like."
Acknowledging the team's collective effort, Toyoda expressed gratitude to Elfyn Evans for his relentless and aggressive driving throughout the season. He emphasized Evans' determination and hoped for a triumphant finish at Rally Japan, highlighting the unfinished business from the previous year.
Rovanperä showcased his skill and resilience in the inaugural Central European Rally, commencing in Prague and traversing challenging terrains across the Czech Republic, Austria, and Lower Bavaria in Germany. Winning four out of six stages on wet asphalt roads in the Czech Republic, Rovanperä established a commanding lead of 36.4 seconds.
Despite facing numerous challenges on the Austrian routes, Rovanperä's unwavering determination kept him among the top contenders. A strategic and calculated approach in the final stretch secured his seventh podium of the season. With three victories already under his belt and a consistent top-four finish in 12 rounds, Rovanperä's performance exemplifies his prowess and skill.
As the 2023 season heads towards its conclusion, TGR will return to home roads at Rally Japan on November 16-19. The event, set against the picturesque backdrop of the Aichi and Gifu prefectures, promises to be a thrilling finale to a remarkable season of rallying excellence.