The two reasons Toyota wanted Rovanperä to test Rally2

Toyota technical director Tom Fowler also says the new car is "pretty complete"


Decision time has descended on Toyota Gazoo Racing’s Jyväskylä headquarters. Doors will be shut, meetings lengthened and brows furrowed as the debate continues.

The focus? The specification of the Japanese marque’s maiden Rally2 car. The Toyota GR Yaris Rally2 has done its time on Tarmac, it’s ground out the gravel mileage and seems well sorted on snow.

Toyota tester Juho Hänninen is one of many Finns to make the thing fly, but seeing world champion Kalle Rovanperä return to Rally2 action was something special at a test in the south of France last week.

The team’s technical director Tom Fowler went route one with his answer to the question of Kalle’s time aboard his latest creation.


“Why wouldn’t we have him in the car?” he told DirtFish. “It was a little bit of a no-brainer, when you think he’s the reigning world champion and a driver who has won the WRC2 category and has great experience of these cars really recently.

“It made a lot of sense. And it wasn’t far from home for him.”

Now, back to those furrowed brows.

“It’s time for the wise choices,” Fowler explained.

“Everything is there or thereabouts with the car. It’s a pretty complete package in terms of all the things you need.

“With the testing we’ve done, it’s already a snow car, gravel car, and a Tarmac car. It has all of the ingredients you need to do a whole year of rally through the different seasons we drive in. Everything is available on the car now.

“So now it’s a case of narrowing it down into the package that has to be homologated. The philosophy of Rally2 regulations means we have limited roll bars, differentials, we’re limited on the number of VOs for different suspension types and so on.


“You have to create your package for each rally anybody might want to do around the world from those homologated parts. At the moment, we have a lot more parts than we are able to homologate – it’s about choosing which ones of those will be the final package.”

It’s about compromise?

“No. It’s about the wise choices.”

The world got its first peak into those ‘wise choices’ last weekend when Norihiko Katsuta, father of Toyota WRC driver Takamoto, debuted the GR Yaris Rally2 on Japan’s Shinshiro Rally.

He was running fourth overall before unfortunately retiring. Toyota is understood to be using the Japanese championship as a test-bad for its Rally2 creation.

Words:David Evans