A few words from Team Founder, Akio Toyoda
“Throughout the season, there was always at least one of our crews on the podium – including Takamoto. Thanks to them, I was able to watch all the events being thrilled expecting that somebody from our team would win. Then in this final event, Seb and Julien, who were targeting their eighth title, and Elfyn and Scott, who still had a chance to win their first, had the ultimate battle until the very end.
As a big rally fan, I felt so excited watching them. ‘Our Yaris WRCs are running in such an exciting situation at the highest level of competition...’ It was like a dream for us at Toyota. I would like to thank both crews from the heart for making us feel like that.
Seb and Julien, congratulations! I truly respect you for driving to the maximum until the end. To be eight-time champions is a great record, and we are all proud that two out of those eight were with Toyota. Thank you so much. To secure the manufacturers’ title and have Seb and Elfyn freely fight at the same time: all team members tackled this final event together to achieve both. Kalle’s driving throughout the event showed it well. Kalle, Jonne, thank you very much for what you have done for the team.
It’s thanks to Jari-Matti that the team was able to smile. Jari-Matti, who was also a driver, is a leader who always puts drivers first. I think all the drivers were able to finish the season with smiles because all the judgements were made from a driver’s point of view. He hates to lose. He does as much as I do, or maybe more than I do. I believe his judgements based on this ‘hate-to-lose’ mindset made the team strong.
There was one more way in which Jari-Matti surprised me. That was his thorough communication with the team members. Through a video taken by the team, I saw him giving morning greetings one-by-one at the early morning service park. All 200 members across Finland, Estonia, Germany and Japan were closely united because we had him. I really appreciate him for realising the ‘driver-driven team’ and ‘family-like yet professional team’ which we had been aiming for.
This team kept making the Yaris WRC stronger since 2017. What I asked for at the first rally in 2017 was to make the Yaris WRC the strongest at the end of the season. The Yaris WRC has run 59 events in these five years, and we learned a lot from the events we won, and we lost. The team did make the last Yaris WRC the strongest ever. I’m really happy for that.
Our car will be totally new under new regulations next year and the development is reaching its climax. The team is extremely busy and I’m grateful to everybody and their families who support them. We will prepare an ever-stronger Yaris and make our fans even more excited from next season onward. I hope the fans will look forward to our new car and new challenges and I appreciate your continuous support for TGR WRT.”