Toyota set to return to World Rally Championship with Prodrive?
Richards has made no secret of his desire to bring Prodrive back to the WRC, but rather than re-enter as a privateer, he's indicated that the new outfit will be fielded under the auspices of a major manufacturer. Given the ties which Richards has fostered with Toyota – particularly over the Cygnet/iQ deal which be brokered with the Japanese auto giant in his capacity as chairman of Aston Martin – and the reported presence of Toyota scouts at several rallies recently, the signs are pointing towards Toyota's involvement.
It's been over a decade since the Japanese automaker has competed in the WRC, but recently trimmed a significant drain on its motorsport budget by withdrawing from Formula One. A top-tier rally team is tipped to cost around 8% of what Toyota had been pouring into its over-funded F1 program. And speaking of F1, Richards has for the time being abandoned aspirations to return to grand prix racing, having run both the Benetton and BAR-Honda teams in the past. But he leaves F1 with an intriguing suggestion to replace the current qualifying system with a computerized grid that would rotate the starting order with each race, thereby mixing up the outcome of each race. Interesting, but the Toyota reports seem more plausible.
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