[TGR News] TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WRC Challenge Program : Another top-six finish for Katsuta

TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WRC Challenge Program

Another top-six finish for Katsuta

TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WRC Challenge Program driver Takamoto Katsuta achieved a second successive sixth-place finish in round two of the FIA World Rally Championship season at Arctic Rally Finland.

This was a new event for the WRC, taking the place of the cancelled Rally Sweden as the season’s only pure winter round. It was based on the Arctic Lapland Rally, which Katsuta had contested three times previously between 2016-18 as part of his development in Finland. That, together with other strong performances on snow and ice in the past, meant he was targeting a strong rally in his Toyota Yaris WRC together with co-driver Dan Barritt.

From the beginning, Katsuta was able to set competitive stage times among the works WRC drivers and was soon involved in a close battle for sixth position overall. In the end he claimed the place on the very last stage of the rally, matching his career-best result from the season-opening Rallye Monte-Carlo and finishing one position and just over half a minute behind his fellow Toyota driver Elfyn Evans.

Quotes:
Takamoto Katsuta:

“I’m happy with this weekend, but I wanted to show something more and I was hoping for a better position before the rally. I enjoyed the stages a lot and in some splits I was fastest, while in some splits I was a bit too careful and losing too much time. When the conditions were consistent I felt very confident, but when there was loose snow or big ruts I needed to improve my driving. I really need to focus on this and improve if I want to get on the podium or win rallies. I still have a lot to learn and I’m even more motivated than before.”

Juho Hänninen (TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WRC Challenge Program instructor):
“From my side this was the best rally that Taka has done with the Yaris WRC. I know he was expecting a bit more and maybe a slightly better result. But at the same time, the time lost at the finish to the drivers ahead was quite small and clearly the smallest gap he has had in the WRC, so also from that side the result is good. He was able to drive really consistently all the time with no big mistakes. He could have driven faster but he knew to back off a bit in order to have a clean run and be consistent, and that’s really important. This kind of result will give him confidence for the future, I have no doubt about it.”

Results:

1 Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) 2h03m49.6s
2 Kalle Rovanperä/Jonne Halttunen (Toyota Yaris WRC) +17.5s
3 Thierry Neuville/Martijn Wydaeghe (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +19.8s
4 Craig Breen/Paul Nagle (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +52.6s
5 Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin (Toyota Yaris WRC) +1m01.5s
6 Takamoto Katsuta/Dan Barritt (Toyota Yaris WRC) +1m37.8s

What’s next?
The third round of the 2021 season will be another all-new event for the WRC with the first ever visit to the Croatia Rally (22-25 April), to be held on asphalt roads around the capital city Zagreb.