Toyota could return to the World Rally Championship in the next few years, it is being reported.

Toyota began testing a 1.6-litre turbo-charged powerplant this week at its HQ in Cologne and while its current focus is on the FIA World Endurance Championship, a spokesperson for the manufacturer told the official WRC site that rallying is on the firm's radar, in the 'medium to long term'.

"We're leaning towards an S2000-style of car which would be available for customers first," a TMG spokesperson explained.

"This is a development project, but it's very early days - the engine only fired up for the first time a few weeks ago - at the very earliest, a car won't be available until next year.

"Obviously, this being a Global Race Engine, it could go in any car, but the Yaris seems to make sense."

"Medium to longer-term there is a degree of logic in the WRC," he added. "We have been there [the WRC] and this is a step back into rallying."

Rumours of a Toyota return last surfaced back in June 2010 [see separate story - HERE], although then a deal with Prodrive was mooted. Prodrive is, of course, now involved with the MINI WRC programme, although the relationship with BMW has soured somewhat this year, with the Banbury-based outfit no longer running the manufacturer entry. Instead it has been reduced to the position of a 'works-supported privateer'.