TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WRC Challenge Program
Katsuta impresses with his speed in the Toyota Yaris WRC

TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WRC Challenge Program driver Takamoto Katsuta demonstrated his talent with impressive pace against the leading drivers in the FIA World Rally Championship on the high-speed roads of Rally Estonia. He was heading towards a career-best fifth-place finish before he crashed out on the final day.

Rally Estonia marked the restart of the WRC season after a break of over five months due to the coronavirus pandemic. The event was a new addition to the WRC calendar, and although Katsuta had entered the rally twice before, he had completed only a handful of stages on those occasions. Rally Estonia runs over fast and smooth gravel stages with many jumps, with a sandy surface that was heavily rutted on the second pass.

Katsuta was making his fifth appearance at rallying’s top level in the Toyota Yaris WRC: his third of the 2020 season and first since Rally Sweden in February. Co-driven by Daniel Barritt, he set competitive stage times from the beginning of the rally, posting a sequence of seven consecutive top-six times up until the end of the first full day on Saturday. Unfortunately, he rolled his car heavily on Sunday’s second stage, ending his rally, but can take confidence from his performance over the weekend.

Takamoto Katsuta:

“On Saturday I had quite a lot of confidence in the car. The feeling was getting better and better with every stage. On some stages I was quite close to the times of my Toyota team-mates, who are some of the best drivers in the world. It was very nice to be able to compare myself against them with the same car. The conditions were consistent so I was able to feel the grip easily. On Sunday the road was changing quite a lot and there was a lot of rain overnight so it was pretty slippery. The corner where I crashed was a bit tighter than the angle that I had in my pace-notes, this was my mistake on the recce. I had too much speed and went wide into a ditch and we rolled maybe three or four times. It was a big crash but Dan and I were both OK. I am really sorry for the team. They made a great car and I was enjoying it until this happened. But there are positives I can take from this weekend and I am sure I will learn from this and it will make me even stronger for the future.”

Jarkko Miettinen (TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WRC Challenge Program instructor):

“Taka drove really well, fast and consistently on Friday and Saturday. Saturday was surely his best performance ever: His driving looked clean and straightforward. After SS12 on Sunday morning, he was fifth overall and his gap to the leader was 0.41 seconds per kilometre. This difference is much better than we had expected and a big improvement compared to Sweden when the gap was 0.81 sec/km. In my opinion, Rally Estonia was a strong performance from Taka and Dan, even though it ended too early. In rallying, every positive learning curve has some occasional bumps!”


1 Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) 1h59m53.6s
2 Craig Breen/Paul Nagle (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) + 22.2s
3 Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (Toyota Yaris WRC) +26.9s
4 Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin (Toyota Yaris WRC) +41.9s
5 Kalle Rovanperä/Jonne Halttunen (Toyota Yaris WRC) +1m18.7s
Retired Takamoto Katsuta/Daniel Barritt (Toyota Yaris WRC)

What’s next?

Rally Turkey, the next round of the WRC, is not part of Katsuta’s programme this season, meaning his next appearance will be on Rally Italia Sardegna on October 8-11: The rally features fast and narrow stages coated with fine and sandy gravel, which is swept away by each passing car to leave rockier and rutted roads.

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TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WRC Challenge Program is supported by following partners.

TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WRC Challenge Program is supported by following partners.