TOYOTA GAZOO Racing Repeats a Remarkable 1-2-3-4 Finish

at Safari Rally Kenya

  • Publish date: Monday، 26 June 2023
TOYOTA GAZOO Racing Repeats a Remarkable 1-2-3-4 Finish

Toyota’s clean sweep of podium places extends FIA WRC Manufacturer’s Championship lead to 42 points

Dubai, UAE – 26 June 2023: For the second consecutive year, the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing (TGR) World Rally Team (WRT) claimed a historic result recently at the legendary Safari Rally Kenya, with Sébastien Ogier leading a remarkable clean sweep of the top four positions in the No. 17 Toyota GR YARIS Rally1 Hybrid Electric vehicle. Kalle Rovanperä and Elfyn Evans, who achieved the second and third places respectively, joined him on the podium together with Takamoto Katsuta who finished fourth in the No. 18 Toyota GR YARIS Rally1 Hybrid Electric vehicle.

TOYOTA GAZOO Racing Repeats a Remarkable 1-2-3-4 Finish

The win marked a milestone 11th victory for Toyota at the famous African race, and the second time the team has achieved a 1-2-3-4 finish during the same event in the WRC since 1993. Known as one of the most challenging races with notably tough conditions, which included soft sand and deep ruts, the GR YARIS Rally1 Hybrid Electric vehicles were able to preserve, helping drivers progress steadily throughout all stages of Safari Rally Kenya race.

Ogier and co-driver Vincent Landais’s win is the third this season from five starts. The duo maintained a lead during the first stage of the rally and advanced into the last day with a lead of 16.7 seconds over last year’s Safari winners, Rovanperä and Jonne Halttunen. Ogier’s final winning margin was just 6.7 seconds: the smallest ever in Safari history in an event usually decided by minutes. Having set the third-best time in the rally-ending Power Stage to take three bonus points, second-place finisher Rovanperä increases his championship lead from 25 to 37 points. Evans is now up to third in the standings, with 41 points away from the lead, after he and co-driver Scott Martin made the Safari podium for the second year in a row. Fourth-place finisher Katsuta demonstrated a strong performance at the Safari with the support of the TGR WRC Challenge Program, earning a third successive podium in Kenya and clinching his best finish of the season so far.

TOYOTA GAZOO Racing Repeats a Remarkable 1-2-3-4 Finish

The 1-2-3-4 finish comes 30 years to the month since Toyota first recorded such a result in Kenya with the Celica ST185, which was repeated with the GR YARIS Rally1 Hybrid Electric vehicle in 2022. With this year’s remarkable showing, Toyota has become the first manufacturer to achieve the feat on the same WRC round on three separate occasions, or to do so in two successive editions of a rally, increasing its manufacturers’ championship lead to 42 points.

The race was also highlighted by a concept vehicle, the Toyota Hilux Mild Hybrid Electric Vehicle (MHEV), being driven as a test vehicle in Kenya. The goal was to demonstrate and offer options for achieving carbon neutrality in markets with underdeveloped infrastructure. Juha Kankkunen, the rally legend and three-time Safari Rally winner, was behind the wheel of the concept car.

Akio Toyoda, TGR-WRT Chairman, commented: “Since the Safari Rally came back to the WRC calendar, we have completed another year of great results, achieving three consecutive wins and finishing 1-2-3-4 for two years in a row. I would like to thank all drivers and co-drivers, mechanics, engineers, and all the other team members.”

Toyoda added: “Unlike other regions, “bringing the car home in one piece” is strongly required in Africa, which has the harshest environment for cars. It is really great that our four GR YARIS Rally 1 Hybrid Electric vehicles made it through and showed the reliability of Toyota in such African environments. However, looking at how the rally went, it was not achieved only by the reliability of the vehicles, it was the result of the combined effort of crews and mechanics/engineers.”

Over the years, Toyota has been participating in many different forms of motorsports, including Formula One, the World Endurance Championship (WEC), and the Nürburgring 24 ‎Hours endurance race. Toyota’s participation in these events was overseen by separate entities within the company until April 2015, when Toyota established TGR, ‎to consolidate all of its motorsports activities under one in-house brand. Representing ‎Toyota’s belief that ‘the roads build the people, and the people build the cars,’ TGR highlights the role of motorsports as a fundamental pillar of Toyota’s commitment to ‎making ‘ever-better’ cars. Harnessing years of experience gained under the extreme conditions of various motorsports events, TGR aims to forge new technologies and solutions that bring the freedom, adventure, and joy of driving to everyone.

The championship continues next month with Rally Estonia taking place from 20-23 July over fast and smooth gravel roads with many crests and jumps, as well as some more technical sections.

Race Notes

  • No. 17 Toyota GR YARIS Rally1 Hybrid Electric vehicle (Sébastien Ogier & Vincent Landais)
  • Position: 1st
  • Time: 3h30m42.5s
  • No. 69 Toyota GR YARIS Rally1 Hybrid Electric vehicle (Kalle Rovanperä & Jonne Halttunen)
  • Position: 2nd
  • Time: +6.7s
  • No. 33 Toyota GR YARIS Rally1 Hybrid Electric vehicle (Elfyn Evans & Scott Martin)
  • Position: 3rd
  • Time: +2m58.5s
  • No. 18 Toyota GR YARIS Rally1 Hybrid Electric vehicle (Takamoto Katsuta & Aaron Johnston)
  • Position: 3rd  
  • Time: +3m23.8s


For more information, please contact:

Ismail Yagan

General Manager

Toyota Middle East & Central Asia

Tel: +971 42993875

Mobile: +971 56 1797456

Email: ismail.yagan@toyota-me.ae

Walid Majzoub


Tel: +971 43672530

Email: walid.majzoub@traccs.net

Follow us on our Whatsapp channel for latest news