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Heartwarming news for the bobble-hat fraternity: Toyota is taking the GT86 rallying, and it’s all kicking off next month.

At the Rallye Deutschland - the ninth round of the 2014 WRC - Toyota Motorsport will ‘test’ its GT86 CS-R3 prototype, marking the brand’s return to rallying. Remember, they did pretty well with the old Celicas and Corollas back in the 80s and 90s.

This GT86 CS-R3 has been in development for the past year, and will act as the official ‘pathfinder’ car at next month’s rally, driving through each stage as a safety test ahead of the field. So it won’t be competing.

But still, it’s an important milestone for TMG. It will be driven by double women’s world rally champ Isolde Hodleried, who will test the newly modified and extra-slidey GT86. This R3 class allows for the 2.0-litre boxer engine to be turned up to the tune of 250bhp, thanks to cam and compression ratio changes.

It also gets a sequential six-speed transmission, limited slip diff, a lightweight safety cage, tailor made wiring looms and motorsport ECUs, and tarmac/gravel specific suspension kits.

“The fact we are testing our prototype on a very public stage, the FIA WRC, shows what confidence we have in the this project,” explains Nico Ehlert, TMG’s chief engineer. “Interest in this car has already exceeded our expectations and we are looking forward to customer and fan feedback from the rally.”

Ah yes, customers. This CS-R3 will be available in kit form from early next year, though pricing is to be announced when the final spec has been, erm, finalised.

Isn’t it good to see a Toyota back on the muddy stuff, and in all likelihood very, very sideways?

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