TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WRC Challenge Program drivers Yuki Yamamoto and Hikaru Kogure made their debuts in the highly competitive WRC2 class at Rally Sweden on February 15-18, driving the GR Yaris Rally2.

This was the Japanese duo’s second time competing in the FIA World Rally Championship’s only pure winter event, having gained initial experience of the high-speed, snow-covered stages around Umeå in 2023 when they were driving two-wheel drive Rally4 machinery. On this occasion they would be driving their GR Yaris Rally2 cars in competition for just the second time, building on their positive outing in the Arctic Rally in Finland at the start of this month.

The first full day of the event on Friday provided extreme conditions for all of the drivers with heavy snowfall, but both drivers handled this well considering their lack of experience compared to their competition.

The longest day of the rally on Saturday brought quite different conditions for the drivers to adapt to. Yamamoto lost some ground in the evening with a puncture and damaged suspension, finishing the day 10th in WRC2, while Kogure’s day came to an early end following another encounter with a snowbank at the end of the afternoon loop. He was able to restart on Sunday to gain further mileage alongside Yamamoto, who reached the finish in 10th place in class.

ENDLESS is the partner of this program in the brake pads supply as same as WRT, and supporting these young driver’s challenge.

Kogure and Yamamoto will gain further experience competing on snow and ice with the GR Yaris Rally2 when they take part in the Tuuri Ralli, the third round of the Finnish Rally Championship season, on March 8-9.