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Toyota says to return to World Rally Championship in 2017

30 january 2015, 15:56

 Toyota said Friday it would come back to the World Rally Championship in 2017, nearly two decades after the Japanese auto giant withdrew from the motor sports event, AFP reports.

The world's top-selling carmaker said it planned to use the "Yaris" hatchback, known as "Vitz" in Japan, as its rally vehicle for the prestigious championship.

"Let us get back to the road of WRC (the World Rally Championship)," Toyota President Akio Toyoda told a news conference unveiling the test vehicle in Tokyo.

Toyota won 43 WRC rallies and clinched the championship three times before it pulled out of the series in 1999.

"Going back to square one, we will tone up our team and the rally vehicle," said Toyoda, who has himself participated in motor racing events.

"Looking to our participation, we want to push for preparations one by one."

Japanese carmakers are beginning to re-enter motor racing events years after their withdrawal mainly due to their efforts to cut costs during a slump in the auto industry in the late 2000s.

Honda has said it will return to Formula One this year as an engine supplier to British team McLaren after withdrawing from the grand prix racing series in 2008.

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