February 27, 2024

Rally Japan, Toyota overwhelming: Evans leads Ogier


The Brit is still leading the race after the penultimate stage ahead of the Frenchman and the Finnish Rovanpera. Lappi, Tanak and Katsuta recover, Mikkelsen continues to lead WRC2 ahead of Gryazin and Kajetanowicz

Nico Patrizi


The dominance of Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 at the Japan Rally, the final round of the 2023 World Rally Championship. While the “survivors” of rival manufacturers were forced to lick their wounds from Friday’s grueling stage, the Japanese cars consolidated their place in the top three places in the overall standings . Elfyn Evans is still clearly in the lead, with a clear lead of one minute and fifteen seconds Sebastien Ogier who has apparently recovered from the “contact” in the fifth special stage. Third place for Kalle Rovanpera, apparently happy with the World Cup “encore” and not particularly aggressive in this season’s epilogue. The Finn complains a gap of twenty-five seconds and six tenths to Ogier. The comeback of is also noteworthy Takamoto Katsuta, who is now sixth with the fourth Yaris after the serious crash in yesterday’s “terrible” second test. It should be noted that the stage of Friday it also cost his father dearly Norihikohad to stop after opening a wheel Yaris Rally2 Super special in the evening.


After Toyota Gazoo Racing’s “train,” the remaining flag bearers showed up Hyundai And Ford M Sport. The balance so far is good Esa-Pekka Lappi who seriously damaged his Hyundai i20 N Rally1 in Chile and at the Central Europe Rally, is now finding partial compensation occupies provisional fourth place. The “captain” of the Korean team is now banned from all games Thierry Neuville, restarted the Super Rally, but now slipped to the back of the group. As for Oct. Tanakis in fifth place with one Ford Puma Rally1 which once again shows its limitations. Even more unfortunate Adrien Fourmaux who was no longer able to start for the second stage: The engine of his Puma suffered damage after yesterday’s off-road accident.


Even though Lappi, Tanak and Katsuta were overtaken, Andreas Mikkelsen is always in the top places with his Skoda Fabia RS Rally2, occupies seventh place overall and the lead in WRC 2. The ranking of the latter category is monopolized by Skoda, with Nikolay Gryazin second e Kajetan Kajetanowicz third. In the absolute ranking this is “neutral”. ninth while the Pole completes the top ten. Also noteworthy is the excellent performance of Gregoire Münster, who takes eighth place overall with his Ford Fiesta Rally2, although the class standings are “transparent”. In the WRC 2 Challenger Gryazin has Kajetanowicz firmly under control, who benefits from the stopover Heikki Kovalainen due to transmission issues and is very close to the category title.


Note the excellent eleventh place overall for the Japanese team Hiroki Arai with the “small” Peugeot 208 Rally4. I’m not at all upset about my dad’s stop Toshihiro Due to problems with the alternator in his Subaru Wrx, Arai runs an excellent race and dreams about it even gain some overall points. Another Japanese man who behaves well is Osamu Fukunagawho is twelfth overall and the clear leader with his Skoda Fabia Rally2 Evo WRC Masters Cup. With Miguel Diaz Aboitiz Delayed by an accident in last night’s Super Special, the Irishman is now trying to make life difficult for Fukunaga Eamonn Boland, three minutes and six seconds behind in his Citroen C3 Rally2. In WRC 3 the lonely march does not continue without difficulties Jason Bailey with his Ford Fiesta: Today he received a three-minute penalty, dictated by the need for determination some technical problems.

You are still special

Little time to rest for the protagonists of the Japan Rally: The restart is scheduled for Sunday, 7:05 a.m. For us it is still 11:05 p.m. on Saturdaywith the first passage of Asahi Kougen. Others will follow five specials with conclusion at 2:15 p.m. local time, 06:15 with us. The streets of Asahi Kougen will continue to be the theaterlast Power Stage 2023.

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