Official: Toyota retains the same driver line-up for 2024, Rovanpera with a partial programme

Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT announced today that Kalle Rovanpera, Elfyn Evans, Sebastien Ogier and Takamoto Katsuta will remain at the squad for next season, but the two World Rally Champions will share the third Yaris.

Rovanpera defended his title and became a WRC Champion for a second time in his career, but he decided to take a break, thus he will take part in a selected number of events in 2024 as he wants to compete in other series, such as drifting, and to relax mentally and physically. On the other hand, Evans has signed a multi-year contract for Toyota and is ready to fight for the WRC title bid in 2024 as he was the only closest rival to his teammate on the championship. Katsuta will join forces with the Welshman, as Toyota offered him a full-season campaign, and both of them are the regular drivers of the team. Finally, Ogier extended his part-time programme for one more year and will share the third Yaris Rally1 with Rovanpera, but it is still unknown in which rally each of them will take part in.

"I am really excited to have signed a multi-year contract with TGR-WRT and to continue working with the team", Rovanpera said. 

"Next year I am only going to be driving some of the events and the biggest reason for this is that I have been driving rally cars for 15 years already, which is quite a long time, and while the last seasons have been amazing of course, they have also been really demanding mentally and physically. 

"So I felt that now would be a good moment to take a year for recharging the batteries, and then come back again full-time to fight for the championship once more with a full attack. 

"I enjoy all kinds of motorsport and I’m looking forward to doing some drifting and maybe some other cool events as well as the rallies which we will be selecting next year".

Moreover, Elfyn Evans stated: "I’m looking forward to heading into what will be my fifth consecutive year with the team. 

"We’ve had some great successes together over the last four years and I’m excited to continue that story with TOYOTA GAZOO Racing. 

"I gelled with the team immediately when I joined and it feels very much like home now. 

"The support from everyone to get me feeling comfortable in the GR YARIS Rally1 HYBRID has been great, and we’ve continued to make progress this year. 

"I’m keen to build on that and be even better in 2024. We have a lot more to achieve together and I’m excited about the future. 

"As always, the target will be to win, whether that’s in each rally or in the championship."

On the other hand, Takamoto Katsuta said: "I’m really excited to start a new season with TGR-WRT next year. 

"I learned a lot this year: there were some rallies that were good for me and some that were not so good, but those have made me stronger and will hopefully help me in the future. 

"Next year will be important to prove what I can do, and I will try to make it the best season of my career so far. 

"A huge thank you to the team and everyone who has been supporting me. 

"I’ve had a very good opportunity to gain step-by-step experience in rallying since joining the TGR WRC Challenge Program in 2015. 

"Now I will try to make the next step to fight for better results and for podiums and victories."

Finally, Sebastien Ogier said: "I am of course really happy to still be with TOYOTA GAZOO Racing for next year. 

"The 2023 season has been good for me and more importantly for the team, and managing to clinch all three titles again is great. 

"So I’m looking forward to staying in this environment and to try and continue our success story together. 

"I really like the relationship that I have with the whole team and for me there was never any doubt that I wanted to stay in TGR overalls. 

"I also really enjoy the balance that this kind of partial programme gives me, and next season should be pretty similar in that respect. 

"As long as the success is there for me and the team, I think we should try to carry on in a similar way."

The team principal of Toyota Gazoo Racing WRC, Jari-Matti Latvala, said: "We are very happy to be keeping our winning driver line-up together for the future. 

"It’s great to know that we have such a strong squad of drivers who feel at home in our car and our team and want to continue working with us. 

"Kalle’s programme will be a bit different in 2024 but the important thing for us is that he is a Toyota driver and he wants to stay with the team and keep enjoying his passion for rallying. 

"Even though he is young, he has been driving rally cars at a serious level for a long time and he feels a part-campaign would be best for him now so that we can look forward to more full seasons together in the future. 

"It’s also great that Seb continues with us, and it means that together with Kalle, we will have two multiple world champions as strong assets in our defence of the manufacturers’ championship. 

"Elfyn has shown us again this year that he can win rallies and compete for championships, and we know he will give his best efforts in every rally. 

"Taka proved at Rally Finland this year that he can be up there in the fastest rallies and hopefully we can see him as a contender for podiums in almost every rally next season."

Photo Credits: Toyota

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post