Tuesday | 03 Feb 2015

Toyota boss pays tribute to Waldegård

Toyota president Akio Toyoda delivered an emotional tribute to former world champion Björn Waldegård after announcing his company’s return to the FIA World Rally Championship.

Waldegård (above right), who became the inaugural WRC drivers’ champion in 1979, died last August and Toyoda recalled his personal memories of the Swede during his company’s media conference in Tokyo.

“Björn Waldegård was a great supporter of Toyota rally driving in the 1980s and shared our wishes to promote the wonderful traditions of rallying in Japan,” said Toyoda.

“At the Sinshiro Rally two years ago he was in fine driving form. At that time I was a novice with only one year of rally driving experience but he treated me as a full- fledged driver and told me stories I will never forget. I wish to express my heartfelt condolences at his passing,” he said.

Waldegård joined Toyota in 1981 and won six WRC rounds for the team, including a hat-trick at the legendary Safari Rally in Kenya in 1984, 1986 and 1990.

Toyoda’s comments came following his confirmation that the Japanese company would return to WRC in 2017 with a Yaris World Rally Car. To see how the Yaris is shaping up, take a look at the car in testing below.

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