Amman, October 2022: GAZOO Racing (GR) celebrated a spectacular one-two finish at Rally New
Zealand, while Kalle Rovanperä recorded his name in the history books as the youngest-ever winner
of a Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) World Rally Championship title. Rovanperä, who
turned 22 just one day before the win, and his co-driver, Jonne Halttunen, secured victory in style
following another outstanding performance in the No. 69 Toyota GR YARIS Rally1 Hybrid Electric
Cinching the title in only his third season competing at rallying’s highest level, Rovanperä is more than
five years younger than previous record holder, Colin McRae, and has been the benchmark driver in
the first year of the WRC’s new hybrid Rally1 regulations. Rovanperä’s victory in New Zealand was his
sixth of the season, enabling him to grab the title with two rallies remaining, having led the
championship since winning round two in Sweden in February.
Outstanding speed in difficult weather conditions has been a key attribute to Rovanperä’s driving in
2022 and was also central to his victory in New Zealand. After finishing the second day of the rally in
fourth place, he excelled during a rain-soaked third day to take the lead and build an advantage of
almost half a minute.
The fourth and final day brought further wet weather. However, Rovanperä managed to maintain his
lead ahead of the rally-ending Power Stage. Only a top-four time was needed to secure the two
bonus points required to claim the championship, but he nonetheless recorded the fastest time - the
seventh occasion he has topped the Power Stage this season.
The outgoing champion, Sébastien Ogier, completed a one-two finish for the team together with co-
driver, Benjamin Veillas, in the No. 1 Toyota GR YARIS Rally1 Hybrid Electric Vehicle. As part of the
close four-way battle for the lead earlier in the rally, they played an important role in their
teammates’ success. The one-two finish, plus the first and third fastest times from the Power Stage,
ensured Toyota increased its Manufacturers’ Championship lead to 81 points, with just 104 left
available from the two remaining events.
Akio Toyoda, President and CEO, Toyota Motor Corporation, commented: “This weekend, I would like
to congratulate Rovanperä for three things; on his 22 nd birthday, the victory at Rally New Zealand and
becoming the drivers’ champion for 2022. With two events remaining, it is overwhelming to win the
World Rally Championship with six victories out of 11 events so far. The drivers were able to push and
gave everything because the whole team moved in the same direction, and members of Toyota New
Zealand also gave us strong support. I would like to thank everyone who contributed to this victory,
and I believe the entire team will continue working hard so that our four cars and four crews are able
to drive comfortably on any roads.”
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 involvement in these events was overseen by separate entities within the company
until April 2015, when Toyota established GR to consolidate its motorsports activities under one in-
house brand. Representing Toyota’s belief that ‘the roads build the people’ and ‘the people build the
cars’ - GR highlights the role of motorsports as a fundamental pillar of Toyota’s commitment to
making ‘ever-better’ cars. Harnessing years of experience garnered under the extreme conditions of
various motorsports events, GR aims to forge new technologies and solutions that bring the freedom,
adventure and joy of driving to everyone.
The season continues in Spain with the penultimate championship round, Rally de España, between
20 and 23 October. Based in Salou - south of Barcelona - the event is known for its smooth and fast
asphalt roads that share similar characteristics with a racing circuit.