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Toyota WRC boss Latvala plotting rally return

Toyota World Rally Championship boss Jari-Matti Latvala is plotting a competitive rally return with an outing behind the wheel of Toyota’s new Rally2 GR Yaris.

Jari-Matti Latvala, Team principal Toyota Gazoo Racing

Latvala announced at the WRC 2023 launch in Monte Carlo that he is hoping to contest a round of the Japanese Rally Championship to assist with the development of the new Rally2 GR Yaris.

Toyota revealed its Rally2 GR Yaris concept, its first entry into the Rally2 arena, at last year’s WRC season finale in Japan.

It has now been confirmed the car will undergo a year of development in 2023 before being homologated for the 2024 season.

This year the car will however take part in Japan’s national championship and will be driven by Norihiko Katsuta, the father of current Toyota WRC driver Takamoto Katsuta.

Toyota Rally2 concept car

Toyota Rally2 concept car

Photo by: Toyota Racing

Toyota is also working on a plan for 18-time WRC rally winner Latvala to drive the car at the Rally Hokkaido round in September, which would mark the Finn’s first rally in contemporary machinery since a WRC outing in a Yaris at Rally Sweden in 2020.

“It looks amazing and I’m really proud of this Rally2 concept car,” said Latvala at the WRC season launch.

"This car will be homologated in 2024 so we have one year of testing time.

“For the 2023 season we have targeted the car for testing, but we are going to run this car the Japan Rally Championship with Takamoto Katsuta’s father Norihiko.

“The first rally for the car will be in March, Rally Shinshiro, which is close to the area where Rally Japan is based.

"Then we have been speaking about Mr Latvala driving one event which could be Rally Hokkaido. This is being discussed, there is not 100% commitment yet but we are targeting for that.

“I’m very excited for that. The rally [in Hokkaido] is based where Rally Japan used to be and I have very good memories from there. It would be fantastic to return there with the Rally2 car.”

Craig Breen, Hyundai World Rally Team

Craig Breen, Hyundai World Rally Team

Photo by: Fabien Dufour / Hyundai Motorsport

Breen set for Hyundai Rally2 run in Portugal

Craig Breen will also a receive taste of Rally2 action this season following confirmation he will drive a Hyundai i20 N Rally2 at the opening round of the European Rally Championship.

The Irishman has rejoined Hyundai this year to share the manufacturer's third Rally1 car alongside Dani Sordo, with his WRC campaign set to begin at Rally Sweden next month.

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Following his run in Sweden, Breen will now join Team Hyundai Portugal for the Rally Serras de Fafe ERC curtain raiser from 10-12 March.

“I am very excited about this project,” said Breen. “It will be very challenging to compete simultaneously in both [the WRC and Portuguese] championships, and I feel very motivated to compete in Portugal with Team Hyundai Portugal.

Breen’s last ERC start came at the 2021 Rally di Roma Capitale.

He will also contest the full Portuguese national championship. 

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