Wednesday | 07 Dec 2022

Toyota targets abrasive gravel development

Despite its domination of the World Rally Championship for the last two years, Toyota’s rigorous testing of its GR Yaris Rally1 goes on – with events like Greece, Italy and México being put under the microscope.

The Japanese manufacturer failed to feature on the podium in Sardinia or Lamia this season, which is why technical director Tom Fowler is putting effort behind development for the hotter, more abrasive gravel rallies to come in 2023.

A podium lock-out (in fact a perfect top four) on Safari Rally Kenya would indicate the issue doesn’t sit on rough rallies – Fowler feels it’s more linked to the car’s use of Pirelli’s hard compound tyre.

“We know we didn’t have a good Greece,” said Fowler. “The test didn’t go well and neither did the rally. It seems we need to look at the hard-surface style of events. Where we’re using the harder tyre, that looks like it’s our weakness with this car.

“We’re going to be working on that through the winter, but obviously it’s not so easy because you would like to be testing in warm-weather climates. 

“We have some developments for the car coming. We’ve already worked on the suspension set-up towards the end of this season and we’ll continue to look at that package.” 

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