WRC 2 in Sweden:
Maiden win for Katsuta

Takamoto Katsuta repelled a late charge from Pontus Tidemand on Sunday to shock the reigning WRC 2 world champion on home ground at Rally Sweden and claim his maiden category win.

Katsuta led for virtually all the four-day snow and ice forest road encounter to triumph by 4.5sec in a Ford Fiesta after Tidemand launched a final desperate bid to halt him.

He started the short final leg with a 12.2sec lead. Tidemand nibbled away at the gap during the first two stages but could only shave a couple of seconds from the deficit as Katsuta survived a half-spin.

The Skoda Fabia R5 driver threw caution to the wind in the final 9.58km Torsby test and although he ate into Katsuta’s lead, the Japanese youngster had enough in hand to secure a highly unlikely victory and a share of the championship lead.

Ole Christian Veiby, Tidemand’s Skoda Motorsport team-mate, completed the podium. With no realistic chance of catching the duo ahead, the Norwegian eased though the final day to end 26.0sec behind.

Rookie Mattias Adielsson was 1min 18.8sec back in fourth with fellow Fabia driver Janne Tuohino fifth. The top six was completed by Jari Huttunen’s Hyundai i20 R5.

Katsuta’s team-mate, Hiroki Arai, finished seventh despite spinning his Fiesta twice in Sunday’s opening stage.

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