How Hyundai and Neuville gatecrashed Toyota's homecoming party

How Hyundai and Neuville gatecrashed Toyota's homecoming party

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Thierry Neuville signed off the 2022 World Rally Championship season with his second win of the season in Japan after Toyota rival Elfyn Evans suffered a late puncture. With Sebastien Ogier and Kalle Rovanpera also delayed by punctures and incidents, it opened the door for Neuville and Ott Tanak to record Hyundai's second 1-2 of the season in Toyota's own backyard

Toyota only had one more target from its successful 2022 World Rally Championship campaign: a win at home as the series returned to Japan for the finale. The land of the rising sun, back on the calendar after a 12-year wait, was expecting a Toyota homecoming party but Korean arch-rivals Hyundai ripped up the script.

The pressure valve had been slightly released with Toyota having already completed a clean sweep of titles thanks to Kalle Rovanpera and Jonne Halttunen blitzing their way to the drivers' and co-drivers' crowns in New Zealand last month, followed by the capture of the manufacturers' championship in Spain. But with its homeland hosting the WRC season finale in Toyota City, the pressure ratcheted up again as the brand was expected to deliver in front of thousands of passionate fans that lined the streets and crammed the service park at Toyota Stadium for a sight of the now iconic GR Yaris.


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