Toyota to join forces with Prodrive for 2011 WRC bid?

One is looking for a way to rebuild a global reputation that has taken a battering over the last twelve months, the other is eager to return to the international rallying stage - could Toyota and Prodrive be a match made in heaven in 2011..?
Having called time on its short-term ambitions to enter F1 [see separate story – click here], Prodrive is now on the verge of teaming up with Toyota to launch a bid on the World Rally Championship laurels in 2011, reports claim.

Having left F1 with its tail between its legs at the end of last season and still smarting from its car recall PR disaster, Toyota undeniably has some bridges to rebuild on the international automotive stage, and it appears a return to rallying could be the first step.

The Japanese manufacturer has not competed in the WRC in an official capacity since 1999, when it switched its attentions towards its maiden F1 effort, but the company has a strong record and rich heritage in rallying, notching up back-to-back manufacturers' crowns in 1993 and 1994, and then triumphing again in 1999.

Similarly, the David Richards-led, independent British engineering firm Prodrive has not had a presence in the sport since Subaru withdrew its works support at the end of 2008, but has palpably been looking for a way back in – and Toyota could just be that missing link.

“We want to be prepared if and when we get a call from Japan to go and compete,” a spokesman for Cologne-based Toyota Motorsport told The Independent.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Chris Atkinson (AUS), David Richards (GBR), David Lapworth (GBR), Subaru World Rally Team
David Richards (GBR) Prodrive Subaru Team Principal World Rally of Japan, 1-3 September 2006, Japan.
Neal Bates (Aust) Coral Taylor (Aust) Toyota Corolla S2000   Rd 10 WRC Repco Rally Australia Tweed Valley NSW Australia
Neal Bates (Aust) Coral Taylor (Aust) Toyota Corolla S2000   Rd 10 WRC Repco Rally Australia Tweed Valley NSW Australia
Sebastien Ogier collects his WRC champion`s trophy at the FIA Prizegiving in Doha
Sebastien Ogier and VW celebrate at the FIA Prizegiving
Robert Kubica at the Monza Rally Show
Ford Olsbergs MSE celebrates winning the RX Teams` Championship
Liam Doran
Teams line up for FIA World Rallycross
Teams line up for FIA World Rallycross
Nasser Al-Attiyah - Mini ALL4 Racing
Jari Ketomaa (FIN) Kaj Lindstrom (FIN), Ford Fiesta R5, WRC2 winners

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