The Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team is able to face a brand new problem as they get set to sort out the third spherical of the 2021 FIA World Rally Championship in Croatia.

Leading each the drivers and producers championships after two rounds, the squad wish to proceed the current good kind the Yaris WRC has proven on asphalt. WRC Rally Croatia would be the first absolutely asphalt spherical since 2019.

The group will as soon as once more enter 4 Yaris’ in Croatia, with Kalle Rovenpera going to Croatia because the youngest ever chief of the World Rally Championship. His group mate Sebastien Ogier and Elfyn Evans lie in 3rd & 4th within the championship, simply eight factors adrift. Takamoto Katsuta can be within the fourth automobile as a part of the Toyota Gazoo Racing WRC Challenge Program.

Team Principal Jari-Matti Latvala was trying ahead to what he stated could be an fascinating occasion, however was desirous to level out the group have left no stone unturned with an in depth pre occasion check, regardless of the groups automobile being sturdy on asphalt.

Photo Credit: Toyota GAZOO Racing

“It may be very fascinating to be going to Croatia for the primary time with the WRC, for what appears to be like to be fairly a quick asphalt rally. The floor seems to be typically fairly abrasive however we perceive that in some locations it can be very slippery, so it might be actually difficult for the drivers.

Normally the Yaris WRC has been very sturdy on asphalt, as we have now seen in Monza and Monte Carlo just lately, however we additionally know that we can’t take something without any consideration and that we have to work onerous to achieve success. We have achieved six days of testing in Croatia, attempting to make use of roads which can be as related as potential to what we predict to search out on the rally.

Of course, we know the car well now and it is not so easy to keep making big steps with the setup, so our main focus has been on how to get the best out of the new Pirelli tyres.”

Despite main the championship, Rovenpera is clearly very joyful along with his begin to the season however is just not not feeling any strain, conscious that there’s loads of work to be achieved forward of a protracted season.

“I’m actually proud of how the has season has began for me and hopefully we will keep it up the identical manner. I’m not feeling any strain despite the fact that I’m main the championship: It’s solely been two rallies and we have now a protracted season forward. For positive it’s good to be on this place however we have now to work onerous to attempt to keep within the struggle.

I’m excited for Croatia: It will be the first time for me on a proper asphalt event with the Yaris, as so far I’ve only had events with winter conditions like Monza and Monte Carlo. I’m hoping that we can have dry weather like we did on the test. The stages look really nice, but if it’s raining, I think there will be a lot of mud on the road and that will be tricky.”

Welshman Elfyn Evans can be trying to get again on the rostrum after taking a fifth place final day trip on Arctic Rally Finland, unable to repeat his winter rally victory from Rally Sweden in 2020. Whilst he has ready as greatest as he can for this new occasion, he says nothing can match being there in particular person.

“Croatia is an all-new occasion so we don’t know precisely what to anticipate. We’ve been in a position to examine movies of the phases to study as a lot as we will, however nothing can substitute really being there on the recce and seeing the route for actual. The phases look fairly combined, with some huge quick elements and a few very slender bumpy elements, and there might be numerous reducing.

So it looks like we need to be quite adaptable to the different surfaces and different character of stages that we’ll face. We don’t have masses of experience with this car on dry asphalt or with the Pirelli tyres, so in testing we were trying quite a few different settings. But the feeling in the car was generally positive straight away from the first runs.”

Credit: Sébastien Ogier

Reigning champion Sebastien Ogier can be much more keen than his group mate to return to the rostrum in Croatia after a beneath par Arctic Rally Finland. The Frenchman scored only a single level on the Wolf Power Stage, an entire distinction to the 30 factors taken for an ideal rally and energy stage win in Monte Carlo.

“Croatia can be a brand new rally and I’m excited to nonetheless uncover new issues on this sport at this level in my profession. It has been a very long time since we had a full asphalt rally like this one, and the Yaris is a superb automobile to drive on asphalt, so I’m positive will probably be enjoyable.

From what I’ve seen thus far, the roads might be fairly difficult, perhaps a bit soiled and slender in locations, so I’m positive there can be loads of motion forward of us. The pre-event check was essential as a result of we have now new tyres this season and this was the primary probability to drive the slick tyres on dry asphalt.

I did a lot of runs, trying all of the different combinations of tyres and trying to be ready to make the best choices during the rally.”