Toyota Australia has marked the brand’s return season to the FIA World Rally Championship by signing on as a leading sponsor of this year’s Rally Australia. The local deal sees Toyota become the exclusive provider of official vehicles for the “lucky” 13th – and final – round of the 2017 World Rally Championship (WRC), which will be held in the Coffs Harbour region from November 16-19.

Kennards Hire Rally Australia chairman Ben Rainsford welcomed Toyota Australia’s involvement in the downunder WRC round.

“As Rally Australia in 2017 celebrates its 25th year as a WRC event, it’s wonderful to welcome a partner with its own great rally history. Toyota’s name is synonymous with the sport, especially here in Australia,” Rainsford said.

“And while the Toyota Gazoo Racing world rally team will be drawing fans to spectate on the special stages in November, Toyota’s range of road vehicles also will be in action, serving our event in many demanding official roles.”

Toyota Australia’s executive director sales and marketing Tony Cramb said the company is keen to support the Australian WRC event, which will feature Toyota’s WRC squad as well as leading local Toyota drivers.

“Toyota’s commitment to rallying comes from the very top with our global president Akio Toyoda firmly believing that overcoming the extreme challenges of motorsport is vital in our quest to build ever-better cars,” he said.

“There is a strong bond between Toyota and rallying going back to the 1970s with four WRC drivers’ and three WRC manufacturers’ titles at the global level.

“We are also proud of our relationship with four-time Australian rally champions Neal Bates and Coral Taylor – a 25-year relationship during which time Toyota has also won two local manufacturers’ titles.

“We expect to see the Bates clan – including Neal’s sons Harry and Lewis – competing at their usual high standard during this year’s event.”

Kennards Hire Rally Australia will mark the completion of the first year of Toyota’s return to the premier category of world rallying after a 17-year break.

After a successful debut earlier in the year, Jari-Matti Latvala steered the new Yaris to victory in only its second rally start. After five rounds Latvala is placed third in the title chase.