Tuesday | 21 Jun 2022

Katsuta cagey on Kenya podium bid

Last year’s Safari Rally Kenya podium hero Takamoto Katsuta believes repeating his 2021 heroics will be a tough proposition at this week’s Naivasha-based event (23 - 26 June).

The Toyota Gazoo Racing star enjoyed his best FIA World Rally Championship finish in Africa last season, running in the fight for victory against team-mate Sébastien Ogier, before landing the podium’s second step.

Predictably, he’s looking forward to returning to the scene of that result.

“It’s very nice to be back in Kenya,” he said. “Last year was a nice rally for me and a nice result. Can I make that result again? I can’t say that, I can’t tell you – with this rally there is so much that can happen.

“Last year we were a little bit lucky, we had a broken damper and we were able to fix it and carry on. And this year there will be some more things happening like this for the cars, it’s a very big challenge.”

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Katsuta, who lies fifth in the standings after four top six finishes from the opening five rounds, admitted the threat of rain made things even more interesting.

“We saw some small rain on the recce already,” he said. “I don’t think we will get rain for the whole day, but some small rain – that will make it even more difficult and you have to be more careful in some sections. But, you can’t take too much care or you will be far away.

“Last year was a very good rally. I will try to do my best this week, like every rally. But I understand the expectation is higher than other rallies. I have to stay on the ground and stay focused.”

• Full coverage from Safari Rally Kenya will be available on WRC+ All Live here, including every stage broadcast as it happens as well as key interviews, features and expert analysis from the service park

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