Tuesday | 02 Jun 2015

Toyota's Japanese duo set for Poland debut

Two rising stars of Japanese rallying are set to make their world championship debuts at next month's LOTOS 72nd Rally Poland as part of a young driver development scheme backed by Toyota.

Polish rally organisers have confirmed that Daiki Arai, 21, [above] the son of former PWRC champion Toshi, and Takamoto Katsuta, 22, the son of Norihiko Katsuta - six-time Japanese rally champion - will take part.

Both are graduates of The Toyota Gazoo Racing Challenge, a scheme to develop the talents of Japanese championship drivers, from various motorsport disciplines, who are under 26-years-old.

Of the 71 applicants, a shortlist of four drivers made a final rally selection event in Finland last month, where their physical and driving abilities were put to the test. Arai and Katsuta were chosen by a panel of experts led by former world champion Tommi Mäkinen.

Formal training will commence this month under the tutorage of Mäkinen and former works Ford team driver Mikko Hirvonen and the drivers will contest a number of rallies in the Finnish and Polish Championships.

The Toyota Gazoo Racing Challenge is separate to the junior driver development initiative run by Toyota Motorsport in Europe as it gears up for a return to the WRC in 2017.

Toyota Motorsport has signed Teemu Suninen and Eric Camilli to help develop its Yaris World Rally Car alongside test drivers Stéphane Sarrazin and Sebastian Lindholm.

VIDEO: Here’s a clip of the four shortlisted drivers at the The Toyota Gazoo Racing Challenge selection event in Finland:

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