Toyoda backs Japan WRC round

Toyota’s worldwide boss pledged his support for a WRC fixture in Japan after watching his team score a dominant victory at Neste Rally Finland on Sunday.

Akio Toyoda, president of Japan-based Toyota Motor Corporation and chairman of Toyota Gazoo Racing, celebrated on the podium with Ott Tänak after the Estonian delighted his travelling fans by winning the gravel road classic in a Yaris World Rally Car.

The Jyväskylä finish was just 15km from the team’s Puuppola base and Toyoda joined thousands of Finnish fans in hailing a second successive victory for the team following Esapekka Lappi’s success 12 months previously.

“I am looking forward to many more sights of countless Estonian, Finnish and Japanese national flags being flown. Our team will continue making our every effort to achieve this goal,” he said.

“For now, we don’t have a WRC event in Japan. When I looked up to the sky from the podium, I imagined another view of the three national flags flying in our other home in Japan. I strongly hope again that we could see this day.”

Rally Japan was part of the WRC six times between 2004 and 2010, but earlier this year details were announced of a proposed new event on Honshu, Japan’s main island and home to most of the country’s major cities, including Tokyo.

A candidate rally is due to be run in November to judge its suitability for the WRC, with the possibility that Japan could be nominated for a place on the 2019 calendar.

Toyoda is a huge motorsport fan and spent the weekend watching the Yaris claim 18 fastest times from the 23 speed tests as Jari-Matti Latvala joined Tänak on the podium in third.

“I got to see how the home town people welcomed us in our second year after 17 years’ break from WRC. And I got to see how wonderful it is to take the victory in our home town rally,” added Toyoda.

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