The Japanese youngster rolled his Toyota Yaris out of fifth place on Sunday’s second special stage, losing what would have been a career-best WRC result. Both Katsuta and co-driver Dan Barritt were uninjured in the crash, which happened following a recce mistake.
“I was trying to push in some sections, but for this corner my pace notes were a little bit wrong,” he explained. “The corner was tighter than it was in my notes – it was a mistake from the recce.
“The car ran wide with too much speed and we hit a ditch on the outside. The car rolled three or four times. It was a big one.”
Katsuta, who had been posting consistent top six times in his strongest WRC performance to date, apologised to the team and pledged to return stronger.
Video: Rally Estonia - Katsuta crash
“The team made a great car and I was enjoying it until this,” he added. “I am very sorry for the team. There are a lot of positive things to take from here. It was good to see some good times and good splits. It was very positive, but at the same time this one was very negative.
“But it makes me even stronger for the future. I need to finish the rally, if [I] make too many mistakes [then I] never get the result. This was a small mistake with a big accident. I am sorry for the team.”
Toyota Gazoo Racing WRC Challenge Program instructor Jarkko Miettinen emphasised the positives from the weekend, saying: “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 0.41sec/km. 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.”
Photograph by Jarek Jõepera