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Toyota open to renting out fourth car at 2023 WRC events

Toyota open to renting out fourth car at 2023 WRC events

The Japanese brand revealed its 2023 driver line-up on Friday, which will see Takamoto Katsuta promoted to the factory team’s third entry for a series of rallies next year.

Katsuta’s promotion to the main factory team arrives after finishing 12 of the 13 rallies this year inside the top eight on his way to a career-best fifth in the championship standings.

The 29-year-old will share the third manufacturer points-scoring seat with eight-time world champion Sebastien Ogier, who has agreed to another partial campaign with Toyota after driving six rallies for the team this year.

Katsuta will contest the full season but will switch to a fourth GR Yaris for events that Ogier is entered, ensuring that a fourth car would be available for rent for up to seven events next year.

Latvala says the team is keen to expand its customer racing programme and is willing to rent out the car to drivers. It has already received some initial requests.

“It is now clear that our line-up is what we will go with for the season,” said Latvala during a media call following the driver line-up announcement.

“But, of course we have been considering that – on [seven] events where we have a fourth car available – we would consider a renting option.

“But this is purely on renting, nothing else. If there is somebody interested in renting a car, we are looking at that option.

“At this point we don’t currently know if it will happen, but we are of course collecting data to see if there are drivers who are interested in that.

“We have step by step built up a customer programme because this is something we want to do in the future, we want to run some cars and maybe think about the business side of it.

“It is a good opportunity to get the experience of it and in the past it has been one event, but now there would be more events coming if there is a driver hiring the vehicle. It would be interesting for us.

“That fourth car that is a rental option is 100% for business – we are not targeting to score points. We have got some requests but we have not made any decision at this point.”

Latvala also reiterated that the team had interest from drivers looking to claim the third driver seat vacancy following Esapekka Lappi’s decision love the role to join Hyundai.

However, Katsuta’s consistent displays this year proved to the team that the Japanese driver had proved he deserved the drive alongside Ogier.

“Yes of course when Ott [Tanak] left Hyundai…

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