Friday | 01 Nov 2019

Full 2020 campaign for Katsuta?

Toyota Gazoo Racing boss Tommi Mäkinen admitted Japan’s Takamoto Katsuta could contest a full WRC season in 2020.

Mäkinen praised Katsuta’s progress in a Yaris World Rally Car at last weekend RallyRACC Catalunya - Rally de España and said the youngster’s 2020 programme was still under discussion.

“It’s not yet confirmed,” he said. “Now we will discuss this. There is no final decision from Japan yet. Maybe he does all the European events plus Japan and we even think about the whole championship.”

Katsuta made his World Rally Car debut in a Yaris at ADAC Rallye Deutschland in August but the Spanish event was his first time driving the car on gravel.

By the end of Friday’s dirt road leg, Katsuta and British co-driver Dan Barritt were inside the top 10. Unfortunately, a gearbox problem ruled them out of ninth on Saturday morning’s first asphalt stage.

Mäkinen said: “This was a strange problem. It was a serviced, brand new part we fitted and it exploded. We think it’s a material question in the gearbox.

“That destroyed his day. In the afternoon it was difficult for him because he had to take the long-ratio gearbox which was more suited for the gravel. But I’m happy with his progress. He was clearly faster than in Germany and made some good times on gravel.

“He needs to improve his pace notes now. We can see from the data in some places he is braking twice but basically, he is doing really well.”

Katsuta will be back in action in a Yaris at next week’s Central Rally Aichi (8 - 10 November) where he tackles the event which forms Japan’s final dress rehearsal ahead of its full return to the WRC next season.

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