PHOTO: The Toyota Yaris WRC unveiled in Tokyo today (Toyota pic)
MUNICH – The promoter of the FIA World Rally championship has welcomed today’s announcement in Japan that Toyota will return to the series in 2017.
Oliver Ciesla, Managing Director of WRC Promoter GmbH, hailed the confirmation that the world’s biggest-selling auto company would be back in WRC after a 17-year absence as “marvellous news for the sport”.
“Toyota has a long and distinguished history in motorsport, particularly in world rallying, and we’re delighted to welcome one of the automobile industry’s giants back to WRC,” Mr Ciesla said.
Toyota Motor Corporation president Akio Toyoda confirmed that Toyota Motorsport would continue to develop a Yaris World Rally Car at its technical centre in Cologne, Germany, in preparation for its return.
The car appeared in public at Toyota’s Tokyo news conference for the first time.
“Toyota’s announcement brings a fifth manufacturer into WRC, including three of the world’s five biggest-selling auto companies. The last season in which so many manufacturers were represented was 2006,” Mr Ciesla added.
“It’s exciting to see that in addition to the manufacturers already competing in the championship, others are becoming aware of the benefits that engagement in WRC will bring to their business.
“There is a clear link between World Rally Cars and the vehicles we drive in the street and that’s a powerful marketing tool. WRC is a truly authentic sport and this positively translates to a sympathetic image for the brands involved.
“With a global annual TV audience of 800 million viewers, spread across the year from January to November, the WRC provides an excellent return on a company’s investment and we look forward to seeing Toyota back on the special stages in two years’ time.”