The first stages of the World Rally Championship were decided before the race in Japan. Toyota went on to win its own race and even managed to achieve three wins. World champion Kalle Rowenbere finished third.
A Toyota driver has never won a World Cup rally in the team’s home country of Japan. Now those figures have changed, and with notice.
Elfin Evans took the win with Sébastien Ogier in second and Calle Rowanbere in third.
– If we can get three wins here, it will definitely be great for the city, team manager Jari-Matti Latvala said in an interview before the race-ending power stage special.
Hyundai driver Thierry Neuville was quick in the final stretch, but that didn’t change the front row and Toyota’s three wins were complete.
The center of the rally was the city of Toyota in Aichi Prefecture. The city in central Japan was called Koromo until 1959, when it changed its name to favor its largest employer, the car factory.
Will the deal for Rovanperä continue?
Rowanbere had already won his second consecutive WC title. His contract with Toyota expires, but he may have given a hint of what’s to come in his final interview at the last race of the season.
– We continue in the same way, said Kalle Rovanperä.
Hyundai’s Esapeake Luppi moved up to fourth in Japan on Saturday and maintained its position on the final day.
Lubby finished sixth in the WC summary. He is also contracted to Hyundai next year and will run a select schedule of races.
– The season started well, but the end was difficult and I was not in the best shape. I regret the second half of the year, I’m not good enough, Lappi’s words about the season.
World Rally Championship
Subs 13/13, Japan
1. Elfin Evans Toyota 3.32.08,8
2. Sebastien Ogier Toyota +1.17.7
3. Kalle Rovanperä Toyota +1.46.5
4. Esabeka Lubby Hyundai +2.50,3
5. Takamoto Katsuta Toyota +3.10,3
6. Ott Tänak Ford +3.28,3
7. Andreas Mikkelsen Skoda * +7.33,7
8. Nikolai Grjazin Skoda * +8.49.6
9. Wharf. Kajetanowicz Skoda * +19.25,9
10. Hiroki Arai Peugeot +22.22.7
* Rally 2 class
Final Score, Season 2023
1. Kalle Rowanpera Finland Toyota 250
2. Elfin Evans Great Britain Toyota 216
3. Belgium Hyundai 189 in Theory New
4. Ott Tänak Estonia Ford 174
5. Sebastien Ogier France Toyota 133
6. Esapekka Luppi Finland Hyundai 113
7. Takamoto Katsuta Japan Toyota 101
8. Dani Sordo Spain Hyundai 63
9. Teemu Suninen Finland Hyundai 42
10. Oliver Solberg Sweden Skoda 33
1. Toyota 548
2. Hyundai 432
3. M-Sport Ford 287
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