After having a lean period in Belgium and Greece, the 22-year-old world championship leader Kalle Rovanperä picks up speed in New Zealand. With challenging weather conditions, the Finn in the Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 proved that this kind of weather is his element.
No matter if on muddy asphalt or gravel: In the Rallye weekend in New Zealand around Auckland the Toyota GR Yaris Rally 1 with Kalle Rovanperä recklessly dashed to the first positions.
In the rally regulations used in 2022, the race cars have a 1.6-liter four-cylinder turbo engine with an output of 381 hp plus an electric motor. The combustion engine and the 136-hp electric unit have a system output of 514 hp. When coasting and braking, the 3.9 kWh battery charges. The battery has a range of 20 km for pure electric drive.
And that exact “electro-boost” slowed Kalle Rovanperä, his co-pilots Jonne Halttunen and their competitors down that rainy Rallye Friday. In an evaluation test, the technical sports commissioners discovered that the hybrid boost was around 0.16 kilojoules too much and imposed a five-second penalty for this breach.
As a result, the GR Yaris Rally1 finished the race in fourth place. In the pouring rain, the fast Fin started his catch-up and took the lead in New Zealand. He could even build up a lead of almost half a minute.
Sunday was hardly different: Instead of taking the safe option and bringing the Toyota GR Yaris Rally 1 safely to the finish line, Kalle Rovanperä continued his full-speed chase. The fourth placement would have been enough to celebrate the early World Rally Championship 2022. Nevertheless, the world championship leader drove the fastest time and won the Power Stage for the seventh time this season.
Double victory for Toyota Gazoo Racing made perfect: Sébastien Ogier, who won the WRC last year, made it to the second position with his co-pilot Benjamin Veillas. As part of a close four-way battle over the lead, the duo had an important role for their team colleagues because they took important points from the biggest championship rivals.
The double victory and the first and third fastest time at the Power Stage helped the Reiger Suspension motorsport customers Toyota Gazoo Racing to expand their lead in the WRC-manufacturer classification with 81 points. In the two remaining WRC rounds, 104 points are still up for grabs in the manufacturers’ standings. Nevertheless, there is nothing left to shake Kalle Rovanperä’s WRC title. This makes him the youngest rally world champion to date.
Our motorsport customer Toyota is not only a favorite in the WRC: In the DTM Trophy the Toyota GR Supra GT4 with KW racing dampers – driven by Tim Heinemann – also won the title.
Photos: Toyota Motorsport, WRC