Action Across the Board in Toyota Gazoo Racing Week 8
If anything, Toyota Gazoo Racing Week 8 of 2022 was short and sweet. It was double sweet for Toyota, however, as Kalle Rovanpera stormed to the team’s first hybrid era WRC win at snowy Rally Sweden.
ROVANPERA’S TOYOTA WINS SWEDEN
Rovanpera lit up Toyota Gazoo Racing’s 2022 World Rally Championship challenge with a comfortable 22 second victory over Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville and returning Toyota Yaris Hybrid teammate Esapekka Lappi. Son of former WRC champion Harri, Kalle escaped an 8-second 6-way lead tussle Friday. He went on to take his third career WRC victory. Neuville, Lappi, Elfyn Evans and Ott Tanak all enjoyed brief spells in front. All however ran into issues as the rally progressed. Rovanpera’s win saw him into the WRC lead.
Moving across the pond to the St Petersburg opener, former Aussie V8 Supercar tin top sensation Scott McLaughlin completed his transformation to Indycar glory. He drove his Penske-Chevrolet from pole to a maiden victory at the St. Petersburg US season opener. The Kiwi held champion, Spaniard Alex Palou’s charging Ganassi Honda off in a fight to the finish. McLachlan’s Aussie Penske teammate Will Power was third from Andretti duo Colton Herta and Romain Grosjean.
LARSON BARGES TO NASCAR WIN
And in NASCAR, champion Kyle Larson barged Hendrick teammate Chase Elliott out of the way. Larson then staved off Austin Dillon’s wild last-lap charge to win his first race of the season. Erik Jones and Daniel Suarez made it a Chevrolet 1-2-3-4 in the wreck-marred Wise Power Fontana 400 in California. Joey Logano’s Ford was fifth. Larson helped Elliott into the wall with 20 laps to run. Chase spun out on Lap 192.
Closer to home, Trademore SA Cross Country champion Bradley Cox’s KTM held OR2 winner, Husqvarna man Brett Swanepoel off to win the Pepson Plastics Pretoria 200. OR3 winner Matthew Wilson’s KTM was third from Scott Heygate’s OR2 KTM. Michael Pentecost’s OR1 Kawasaki was 5th from Honda duo, OR1 rider Gareth and OR3 lad Haydn Cole.
GILBERT WON SENIORS
Senior winner Kenny Gilbert’s Kawasaki was 8th. KTM riders Kobus Jonck took Masters and Ross Ramseyer High School, Brandon Clarke’s Husqvarna won 85 cc and Jake Pretorius Kawasaki IPC 65.