Ogier in frame to join Evans in revamped Toyota line-up

Elfyn Evans will be announced as a Toyota World Rally Championship driver as early as the end of next week, and could be joined by Sebastien Ogier in the marque's 2020 line-up.

Ogier in frame to join Evans in revamped Toyota line-up

Toyota team principal Tommi Makinen has dismissed speculation he has signed both drivers, but has told Motorsport.com his driver line-up could be confirmed by the end of next week.

Toyota Gazoo Racing has been forced to review its driver line-up following Ott Tanak’s surprise departure for Hyundai.

Evans visited TGR’s Puuppola base at the end of last month and is understood to have agreed terms to drive a Yaris WRC next season.

Ogier is reckoned to have been in discussions with Toyota and would be clear to join the programme if his current employer Citroen withdraws from the series – a scenario understood to be under discussion within the French firm.

Ogier’s other option would, of course, be a return to M-Sport – the team with which he won his last two drivers’ titles.

Makinen told Motorsport.com: “Not yet. We don’t anything to say. Honestly, I tell you we haven’t done anything yet. Also now we have this drama in Australia [the cancellation of Rally Australia due to bushfires in New South Wales] which has a little bit disturbed discussions. Anything, I can’t say anything for the moment.

“As soon as we have something 100 per cent then we will communicate this to you. I hope this could be for the end of the coming week.”

Elfyn Evans, M-Sport Ford WRT

Elfyn Evans, M-Sport Ford WRT

Photo by: M-Sport

Asked for his thoughts on Evans, Makinen added: “Sure we have been following him and his improvements and sure, we are very, very interested.”

Evans’ case for a Toyota seat was understood to have been strengthened when Ogier selected the Welshman as his preferred teammate when reportedly asked the question during discussions with TGR.

 

Asked how interested he would be if Ogier was free from Citroen, Makinen replied: “Let’s see. We don’t know what is happening. It’s very worrying if this talk is true for Citroen, but nothing is sure. We need the manufacturers for the good of the championship and the sport.”

Nineteen-year-old Finn Kalle Rovanpera will drive a third Yaris WRC next season with Takamoto Katsuta running a fourth car in non-factory livery on selected rounds.

Where an Ogier-Evans-Rovanpera Toyota squad would leave current drivers Kris Meeke and Jari-Matti Latvala remains to be seen.

If Citroen does depart, the only option for the pair would be to join fellow WRC stars Hayden Paddon, Craig Breen, Esapekka Lappi, Andreas Mikkelsen and Mads Ostberg in the hunt for a seat with M-Sport.  

shares
comments
Citroen could exit WRC amid PSA shake-up
Previous article

Citroen could exit WRC amid PSA shake-up

Next article

Citroen won't stay in WRC beyond 2021, PSA confirms

Citroen won't stay in WRC beyond 2021, PSA confirms
Load comments
The former WRC star playing the unsung hero role for Rovanpera Prime

The former WRC star playing the unsung hero role for Rovanpera

Kalle Rovanpera’s 2022 World Rally Championship displays have been spectacular, with the Toyota driver benefitting from a secret weapon in his crew to win two of the opening three rallies. But while the former challenger to Sebastien Loeb won’t take credit for his fellow Finn's performances, a key bond has been formed which could prove key to Rovanpera’s title charge

WRC
Apr 29, 2022
How Rovanpera's Croatia turnaround sent a message to his WRC rivals Prime

How Rovanpera's Croatia turnaround sent a message to his WRC rivals

After a dominating Rally Croatia, a wrong tyre choice on the final day looked to have undone all Kalle Rovanpera's hard work and left him with a mountain to climb heading into the power stage. That he emerged the winner all the same has surely quelled any lingering doubts that the Finn is the man to beat in the 2022 WRC

WRC
Apr 25, 2022
How M-Sport's faith in Loubet led to a WRC reprieve after a dismal 2021 Prime

How M-Sport's faith in Loubet led to a WRC reprieve after a dismal 2021

It's fair to say 2021 was a year to forget for Pierre-Louis Loubet. A maiden full World Rally Championship season offered hope but soon turned into a nightmare that ended in hospital, after being hit by a car in a road traffic accident. Now handed a lifeline by M-Sport, the Frenchman is desperate to rebuild his career

WRC
Apr 20, 2022
Why WRC mechanics deserve more respect Prime

Why WRC mechanics deserve more respect

The drivers get the glare of attention, but it’s the mechanics who are key to the operation of any World Rally Championship car. Motorsport.com donned a set of overalls and joined M-Sport on a Belgian national rally event to get an inside look into the life of a rally mechanic.

WRC
Apr 17, 2022
The African McRae aiming to become a WRC pioneer Prime

The African McRae aiming to become a WRC pioneer

Taking his first step into the Junior World Rally Championship category, McRae Kimathi - named after 1995 world champion Colin - found himself in the unfamiliar climes of Sweden's snow and ice. Having impressed, Kimathi hopes to blaze a trail to the top level of WRC and help other African drivers to step onto the ladder

WRC
Mar 8, 2022
How Rovanpera grabbed the Rally Sweden spotlight Prime

How Rovanpera grabbed the Rally Sweden spotlight

After a blockbuster opening act to the new era of the World Rally Championship with the battle of the Sebastiens at Monte Carlo, Rally Sweden would be the first chance to assess the next superstar of rallying. While teething issues with the new hybrid power thwarted some of the cast, Kalle Rovanpera’s display gave him headline billing

WRC
Feb 28, 2022
The "painful" journey behind the WRC's generational tech innovation Prime

The "painful" journey behind the WRC's generational tech innovation

As the company selected to provide the hybrid kits for the 2022 World Rally Championship, the pressure was on Compact Dynamics at the Monte Carlo season opener. Needing to treat all three manufacturers equally, it wasn't a straightforward process, but its first big test was a resounding success that bodes well for the future.

WRC
Feb 25, 2022
The mentality shift key to Lappi’s shot at WRC redemption Prime

The mentality shift key to Lappi’s shot at WRC redemption

He appeared poised to become the World Rally Championship’s new bright young star five years ago, but Esapekka Lappi's fortunes since his 2017 breakthrough win offer a cautionary tale of how the tables can turn. Now having rebuilt his career, the Finn is determined to make the most of his second shot at the big time with Toyota.

WRC
Feb 23, 2022