Sat 07 May 2022

Taka promises a Portuguese push

Japanese ace Takamoto Katsuta is eager to raise his pace at Vodafone Rally de Portugal (19 - 22 May) after a cautious approach to last month’s Croatia Rally.

With four Portugal starts under his belt already – and a strong fourth overall last season – Toyota Gazoo Racing’s second-string driver is looking forward to exploring the limits of the championship-leading GR Yaris.

The Matosinhos-based fixture is the first gravel outing of the FIA World Rally Championship’s hybrid era and will therefore present a new learning curve.

“I didn’t drive so much the Yaris on gravel,” he said, “but I believe the car is working well for this surface. I feel confident and I like this surface and the rally. Hopefully we won’t have any rain, dry weather would be nice.”

Katsuta has had a pretty consistent start to the campaign. Sixth on Croatia’s streaming roads backed up fourth place in Sweden and eighth in the season-opening Rallye Monte-Carlo.

But he admits Croatia proved an exasperating weekend. While he learned plenty about driving the GR Yaris on asphalt, he knew he had to contain his speed to take as much experience as possible.

“Croatia was a little bit frustrating,” he acknowledged. “I was learning a lot and being patient to make sure I was bringing the car to the finish.

“It was not so easy to learn the car in these conditions which were changing all the time and hopefully Portugal will not be so much like that one.

“I know I can learn more in these difficult weather conditions, but it would be nice to have consistent grip and a chance to drive hard with GR Yaris on gravel.”

Starts: Thursday, July 18, 2024 at 4:31:00 AM
Starts: Friday, July 26, 2024 at 7:00:00 AM
Starts: Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 6:00:00 AM