Four-time World Rally champion Juha Kankkunen will give Toyota’s GR Yaris Rally2 its first public appearance at next week’s Rally Japan.
This will be Kankkunen’s second demonstration outing with Toyota this year, having driven stages in the Toyota GR Yaris H2 at Ypres Rally Belgium in the summer.
While the hydrogen powered car has enormous global relevance for Toyota, rally fans will be just as excited by news of the GR Yaris Rally2 breaking cover in Aichi.
The Japanese manufacturer has said very little officially about the car – to the point of some sources denying it even existed for a long time – but DirtFish understands chassis number one was started for the first time on October 1.
Testing started immediately in Finland and, according to sources, has gone without a hitch.
The team made no official comment on its plans for its home round of the series, next week’s Rally Japan.
One source close to the team told DirtFish: “Japan would be the perfect place – and will be the perfect place to launch the Rally2 car.
“And to have somebody like [Juha] Kankkunen driving on some stages is perfect. There’s even talk that somebody else might be getting behind the wheel… Let’s see.”
Toyota will be at pains to point out that this is a very early development car, with the firm’s very first Rally2 car not available to customers until 2024.