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WRC – Chile joy for Tänak as Toyota clinches manufacturers’ crown*


2023 Rally Chile Biobío – Sunday afternoon

M-Sport Ford World Rally Team’s Ott Tänak and co-driver Martin Järveoja became Rally Chile Biobío winners for the second time on Sunday as Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT secured the FIA World Rally Championship for Manufacturers*.

Tänak, driving a Ford Puma Rally1 Hybrid, seized the lead of the South American round on Friday and, thanks to clever tyre tactics, built a commanding buffer which he carried through to Sunday.

With Thierry Neuville finishing second for Hyundai and Toyota’s Elfyn Evans placing third, it meant there were three manufacturers in the top three, a result that highlights the highly competitive nature of the WRC and the headlining hybrid-powered Rally1 category which uses fossil-free fuel.

The notable action on Sunday occurred when Teemu Suninen went off the road on penultimate stage. And, while the Hyundai i20 N Rally1 Hybrid driver's retirement elevated team-mate Neuville to second overall, it also opened the door for Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT to clinch the FIA World Rally Championship for Manufacturers with two rounds to spare*.

Suninen’s exit meant the Japanese marque needed to score four bonus points more than Hyundai, for whom Neuville was its only driver, on the Wolf Power Stage. It did exactly that, with GR Yaris-powered stars Kalle Rovanperä and Elfyn Evans setting the first and second-fastest times respectively.

“I am really proud of the team and the drivers and all the work we have done during the season,” said Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Team Principal Jari-Matti Latvala.

“It is the earliest we have ever, as Toyota Gazoo Racing, got the title so it shows we have done things right.”

Evans’ result of third overall was enough to keep the Drivers’ championship battle alive as he headed points-leading GR Yaris team-mate Rovanperä, celebrating his 23rd birthday today, by 1m4.1s.

Rovanperä now provisionally heads the standings by 31 points and could clinch the title on the upcoming Central European Rally by scoring higher than Evans.

Takamoto Katsuta moved up from sixth to fifth in the third factory Toyota with the remainder of the top 10 completed by FIA WRC2 drivers Oliver Solberg, who won the category, Gus Greensmith, Sami Pajari – the WRC2 Challenger winner – Yohan Rossel and Nikolay Gryazin. Solberg, Greensmith, Pajari and Gryazin were all competing in Škoda Fabia RS Rally2s run by Toksport WRT, while Rossel was at the wheel of a PH Sport Citroën C3 Rally2.

Ford Puma drivers Grégoire Munster and home hero Alberto Heller finished 13th and 15th respectively on their first appearance in Rally1 machinery after delays.

Eduardo Castro from Peru won the FIA WRC3 category in a Ford Fiesta Rally3 as Eduardo Kovacs took victory in the WRC Masters’ Cup aboard a Škoda Fabia R5.

The all-new Central European Rally, which features stages in Austria, Czech Republic and Germany is next on the WRC calendar from October 25-29.

*Subject to confirmation of the results by the FIA