Testing of Toyota’s first world rally car for more than a decade has stepped up with Stephane Sarrazin and Sebastian Lindholm putting the Yaris through its paces in Italy.
While Toyota has previously ruled out returning to the World Rally Championship in 2015, it remains highly likely the Japanese giant will take the plunge to coincide with regulation changes in 2017.
The Motorsport Italia team, which runs MINI WRC cars, has been charged with the task of conducting the tests on behalf of Toyota.
Toyota’s president Akio Toyoda emphatically ruled out a return in 2015 when speaking during the Monte Carlo Rally in January but admitted a WRC return was desirable although he would not elaborate on timing.
Toyota Team Europe, the Cologne-based outfit, successfully campaigned Celicas and Corollas in the WRC before disbanding in 1999.
The rally program dissolved at the same time it pulled the plug on its GT One sports car program to prepare for its plunge into F1 in 2002.