Imperial Toyota unveiled its brand new South African Rally Championship challenger at a function in Nelspruit on Thursday evening. The Imperial Toyota Yaris, which was built and prepared by Toyota Motorsport, will be in action on Friday and Saturday in the Sasol Rally with Giniel de Villiers behind the steering wheel and Greg Godrich reading the route notes.
The new two-door, four-wheel drive Yaris replaces the Imperial Toyota Auris in which De Villiers has been contesting the premier S2000 class alongside Toyota Motorsport team-mates Johnny Gemmell and Leeroy Poulter since the middle of last year. Gemmell and co-driver Carolyn Swan and Poulter and co-driver Elvene Coetzee will be making their second appearance in their Castrol Team Toyota Yaris rally cars this weekend after the latest in a long line of successful rally Toyotas made its debut in the Total Rally in March.
“We’re delighted to be able to put Giniel and Greg into the latest Toyota rally car,” said Imperial Toyota CEO Andrew Miller. “Giniel has been flying the Imperial flag high in this exciting and popular form of motorsport, just as he has done for the past two years in the Dakar Rally. We wish him and Greg every success in this weekend’s Sasol Rally and in the remaining events this season.”
The rally Yaris is a first for South Africa and Toyota Motorsport, who helped pioneer the introduction of the S2000 class in South Africa in 2006 with the uniquely South African Corolla-based RunX rally car and its successor in 2008, the Auris. It is the first Yaris to contest a national rally championship anywhere in the world.