This is about as far away from ‘Mum’s Taxi’ as you can get – Toyota’s brilliant 2017 World Rally Championship (WRC) contender the Yaris WRC. Just check-out the ‘tough-as’ driver’s exterior mirror and the massive rear wing.
While the all-conquering Volkswagen Polo WRC team has been axed – to assist funding for the multi-billion dollar ‘dieselgate’ fiasco – Toyota and Citroen are both rejoining the WRC in 2017 to take-on rival factory team Hyundai (i20s) and the privately-funded M-Sport Ford outfit (Fiesta).
Regulations change for next year with the WRC machines feature more mechanical and aerodynamic grip as well as more differentials.
The all-wheel-drive Toyota Yaris WRC packs a 284kW/450Nm punch from its turbocharged 1.6-litre engine.
Toyota’s driving lineup is all-Finnish – Jari-Matti Latvala (who defected from the defunct Volkswagen team) and Juho Hänninen (who undertook most of the team’s developmental test driving).
“I started my rally career in a Toyota Corolla GT back in 2001,” Latvala explained. “My first competitive outing in a World Rally Car was behind the wheel of a Corolla WRC in 2003 in Estonia.”
The 2017 WRC kicks-off in snow on 19 January at the Monte Carlo rally.