Thursday | 01 Dec 2022

Ogier and Evans back Katsuta for future success

Takamoto Katsuta’s Toyota Gazoo Racing team-mates Sébastien Ogier and Elfyn Evans have praised their Japanese colleague on his elevation to the full factory squad in 2023.

As a graduate of Toyota’s WRC Challenge Program, Katsuta will share a GR Yaris Rally1 with Ogier, replacing Esapekka Lappi who switched to Hyundai Motorsport at the end of the season.

Katsuta is already a familiar and popular member of the team, but Ogier reassured him he would be there to help with the transition to the top flight.

“It's an important step for him and we'll try to support him in that one,” said Ogier.

Katsuta grabbed two podiums in 2022 - including one on home soil (above)

Having finished in the top six on all but two rounds of the 2022 season – including two podiums – Ogier said Katsuta was already on the right path.

The eight-time champion added: “The best thing he can do is just don't change the approach basically and try to remain the same and tackle the rally like he would do any rally. I think that's the best way. If you start to think too much, that can limit your capacity.

“So, on that side, I will definitely try to talk with him and reassure him that he can do that and that if the team have decided to put him in this position it's because everybody believes he can do it. For sure I will be very open to discuss that with Taka.”

Evans sings Katsuta's praises

Evans made his full factory debut with M-Sport in Italy, 2013, when Nasser Al-Attiyah couldn’t take the start in Sardinia. By his own admission, the Welshman’s full-time arrival at the WRC’s top table in 2014 was quite different to Katsuta’s.

“It was very much a learning year for me when I started, I hadn’t really driven a World Rally Car before then,” he said. “Taka has a lot more experience than I had at the time and obviously he knows how to deliver at this level already.

“Ultimately, you can only do your best and that's all anybody can do. I'm sure he doesn't need me to tell him that. He'll just continue to focus on his job and give his best and I'm sure the results will come for him and the team.”

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