Give another small title for this article: “The Rally1 inspiration behind the WRC’s latest customer weapon. Article:
For the past three years, Toyota has been the dominant force in the World Rally Championship, sweeping aside the opposition to win a stunning drivers’ and manufacturers’ treble. But this year the Japanese marque is taking on a new challenge and has entered the Rally2 customer sphere with the GR Yaris Rally2 – “the aggressive sibling of the GR Yaris Rally1”, according to Toyota WRC team technical director Tom Fowler. Rally2 cars are to rallying what GT3 and TCR cars are to GT and touring car racing; off-the-shelf vehicles built to specific FIA regulations available to anyone who can stump up €200,000-€300,000. Rally2 regulations have been overwhelmingly successful since the birth of the ruleset under the R5 name in 2012, with 1500 of these four-wheel-drive, 1.6-litre cars on the market. Rally2 is the base for most national championships, the European Rally Championship’s top level, and WRC’s second tier: WRC2. To ensure it hit the ground running against opposition from Skoda’s Fabia RS, Citroen’s C3, M-Sport Ford’s Fiesta and the Hyundai i20 N, Toyota conducted 18 months of development on the GR Yaris Rally2 and logged more than 9000 miles of testing between Kalle Rovanpera, Juho Hanninen, Stephane Lefebvre and Toyota team boss Jari-Matti Latvala. While Toyota’s GR Yaris Rally1 is the WRC’s proven yardstick, winning 16 of 28 rallies it has contested to date, building a car to defined regulations specifically for customers of varying abilities is an altogether different task. “The biggest challenge is getting the focus of the project correct because it’s a customer project that is out for sale,” Fowler explains. “It’s the first car we’ve designed like that as a company. “In the past, our customer was only our factory driver, so we could easily understand what the need of the project was because the drivers are there with us. Now the driver could be anyone, so we had to really understand the focus and how to approach that. Pajari has the best WRC result to date aboard the GR Yaris Rally2, with second in Sweden Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool“The regulation has been around for so long and there are lots of evolutions of all the other cars – it’s a very competitive market to come into. Everything has to work really well to match what everyone else has done as all the other cars are so good. Our first one has to be almost evo 3 or 4 straight away. That’s not just performance; it’s reliability, usability, everything has to be what everyone else has been doing for several years.” There’s evidence of its Rally1 bigger brother’s DNA in the car, with Toyota successfully capturing a scaled-down version of the Yaris’s striking look. Fowler says its “aggressive features” were necessary “to be on the same level as the latest cars”. But, as he explains, the lessons from Rally1 carried over into the Rally2 car and vice versa.“One of the big benefits from the way we structured the project to have it within the same design team as the Rally1 car was this ability to learn in both directions” Tom Fowler“There are certain components in Rally1 and Rally2 where the regulation is the same or very similar,” he says. “We were able to use a lot of the design philosophy and learning we had done for Rally1 to help with Rally2. “But also in the other direction, we found some improvements for Rally1 based on what we have done for Rally2. One of the big benefits from the way we structured the project to have it within the same design team as the Rally1 car was this ability to learn in both directions.” The GR Yaris Rally2 was reliable but struggled for outright performance on its WRC debut in Monte Carlo. Its best-placed driver Sami Pajari was fifth in class, almost five minutes adrift of the WRC2 winner, Citroen driver Yohan Rossel. But on the Swedish snow, it notched up an outright stage win courtesy of Georg Linnamae, while second-in-class Pajari led home a quartet of GR Yaris Rally2s. A first WRC2 victory appears a matter of time for Rally2’s newest car on the block. Toyota GR Yaris Rally2 tech specs Engine: Three-cylinder, 1.6-litre turbocharged (87.5mm bore x 89.7mm stroke)Gearbox: Five-speed sequentialSuspension: MacPherson Weight: 1230kg (including one spare tyre) Length: 3995mm Linnamae gave the GR Yaris Rally2 its first outright stage win in the WRC Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool“

Toyota, a dominant force in the World Rally Championship, has introduced the GR Yaris Rally2 as its Rally2 customer model. Designed to compete against established rivals, the car reflects elements of the successful Rally1 model while incorporating lessons learned from Rally1 development. Despite initial performance challenges, the GR Yaris Rally2 has shown promise and is poised for success in WRC2 competition.

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