Toyoda jokes Toyota’s water splash problem began in 2019

Last weekend brought back memories of four years ago for TGR chairman Akio Toyoda


As you might expect, Toyota Gazoo Racing technical director Tom Fowler has some very solid thinking on why the GR Yaris Rally1 turned its nose up at Italian water splashes last weekend. So does his boss.

Let’s go with TGR chairman Akio Toyoda’s thoughts on where things went awry first. The problem, according to the driving force behind Toyota’s domination of the WRC, began in 2019. It began when Ott Tänak missed out on a Sardinian win because of a late-in-the-day power-steering problem aboard his Yaris.

Toyoda said: “I was in Sardinia four years ago, and on the final day I was preparing to jump into the water with the team members. But unfortunately we were unable to do that in the end.

“I remember that I felt slightly relieved that I didn’t need to.

“Maybe because of that, our team became not so good at water splashes…”

Sébastien Ogier, Elfyn Evans and Takamoto Katsuta all suffered issues with the watersplashes in Sardinia, with only defending world champion Kalle Rovanperä exiting every water hazard with his Yaris intact.

Toyoda has every confidence in the car ahead of more possible water crossings in Kenya at the Safari Rally later this month.


“I hope everybody, including Séb, Elfyn and Takamoto turn the page and moves on to the next event.

“That said, I still hope I can jump into the water at Sardinia someday. I believe the team will continue to improve the car for driving through water splashes.

“Safari Rally Kenya is in three weeks. Like Sardinia, it will be another tough rally but it seems that our team is very well liked by the animals there. So I’m sure that our team and crew will fascinate the people in Africa again this year.”

Toyota defends the perfect WRC result in Naivasha, having locked out the top four positions last time.

Fowler’s thoughts on Sardinian water will be found on DirtFish later this week.