Having just secured this year’s World Rally Championship (WRC) for drivers with Ott Tänak behind the wheel, the Toyota Gazoo Racing team would have been flying on a high coming to the season-closing Rally Australia – the perfect backdrop to unveil Toyota’s newest model, the Yaris GR-4 hot hatch.

Alas, that was not to be. The devastating bushfires currently ravaging New South Wales, close to the event’s base at Coffs Harbour, have forced the cancellation of Rally Australia that was due to be held last week. This had the knock-on effect of delaying the global reveal of the GR-4, with plans for a rescheduled revealed to be announced later, Toyota Australia said in a statement.

The company has expressed concern and support for the communities affected by the fires and praised the emergency services and military battling them. In response, it has teamed up with Toyota Motor Corporation in Japan to donate AU$250,000 (RM707,500) to the Salvation Army’s Australian chapter.

“The Toyota team is devastated to see this disaster in our communities and want to ensure we lend a hand to support those who are affected at this time, which is why we and our parent company in Japan are pleased to provide a quarter of a million dollars to the Australian Salvation Army,” said Toyota Australia president Matthew Callachor, who encouraged other people to donate to aid organisations.

Based on the latest fourth-generation Yaris for Europe and Japan, the GR-4 is expected to replace the supercharged GRMN model, with the moniker hinting at the addition of all-wheel drive to inject some rally flair. A recent report by Japan’s Motor Magazine suggested that the car will instead be revealed at the start of the All-Japan Rally Championship in January, packing a 1.5 litre turbocharged three-cylinder engine.

GALLERY: Toyota Yaris GR-4 spyshots