Portugal 2024: Raoux winner in Masters Cup, Toyota Yaris wins all categories

At the end of his very first race at the wheel of the Toyota Yaris Rally2, Jean-Michel Raoux won the Masters Cup. Navigated by the always smiling Isabelle Galmiche, the Vaucluse pilot is off to a good start on a program which will soon take him to Sardinia.

Published on 15/05/2024 à 09:39

Loïc ROCCI

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Portugal 2024: Raoux winner in Masters Cup, Toyota Yaris wins all categories

Jean-Michel Raoux and Isabelle Galmiche had fun in Portugal with the Toyota Yaris Rally2 (Photp! Paulo Maria/DPPI)

To have a chance of winning in Portugal, you had to ride in Toyota. A Yaris has triumphed in all the championships in which it was present. At the top of the ranking, Sébastien Ogier and Vincent Landais were uncompromising in Rally1. With 7 trophies in WRC, the Japanese brand now holds the victory record in Portugal. In the lower category, Jan Solans gave the Yaris Rally2 its very first success at this level. The Spaniard was certainly able to benefit from the numerous retirements that occurred in WRC2, but he also beat Josh McErlean (Fabia RS) in their duel on Sunday. Within WRC2, the Yaris also stood out with the tandem Jean-Michel Raoux and Isabelle Galmiche.

At the origin of the creation of the ERace team which notably raced Bryan Bouffier in Monte-Carlo, Raoux was one of the first to receive a Toyota Yaris Rally2. The team now has two (before a third soon) and Jean-Michel has decided to compete in a few rallies at the wheel. Discovering the latest Rally3 to appear on the market, he gradually made his mark. “ It's a very healthy car to drive., he explained in Portugal. It has an excellent chassis. What changes enormously is the sound environment because it's very noisy, it vibrates a lot. The engine speed is different and I had to adapt to shift gears. Sometimes I was too high, sometimes too low... but it's very effective. It's a toy. »

By winning the Masters Cup Jean-Michel Raoux (in white on the right) found himself well surrounded on the final podium with Jan Solans, Jari-Matti Latvala and Armindo Araujo (Photo: Nikos Katikis/DPPI)

Although he does not want to reveal too much about the plans awaiting his two cars, it appears clear that the demand exists and that the team will experience other adventures, particularly in world championships. “ I'm not going to say that we turn away competitors, explains Raoux, but as we are not a large structure, we are not able to operate two cars in different locations. This is achievable in the Czech Republic championship where we are present or in the WRC like here where we also took care of Lewis Bates's mount. »

Having dominated the Masters Cup category throughout rally, Jean-Michel Raoux won on Sunday. “ We are happy for the team, he smiled upon arrival. We enjoyed ourselves while being careful. Our next participation will be in Sardinia (May 30-June 2) where the adversity will undoubtedly be greater. » Ten competitors are actually announced in Alghero including the Italian Mauro Miele, the 2022 world champion. Depending on the rental of his cars, Raoux then plans to race in Poland (June 26-30) with probably 2 cars at the start.

Loïc ROCCI

Journalist specializing in rallying past, present and future... and with a southern accent

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