Tue 05 Jul 2022

Taka already eyeing Finland speedfest

Takamoto Katsuta plans to use next week’s Rally Estonia (14 - 17 July) to hit top gear ahead of the even faster roads at his adopted home event in Finland.

The Toyota Gazoo Racing driver scored the second podium of his career when finishing third at last month’s Safari Rally Kenya. Now his sights are set on another top three finish at Secto Rally Finland (4 - 7 August).

Estonia lies between the two events in the FIA World Rally Championship schedule and Katsuta views the high-speed Baltic encounter as the perfect opportunity to be ready for the fastest round of the season three weeks later.

“We are now on the right direction and I continue to push. Let’s try to make another podium in the next few rallies, especially Estonia and Finland, which are quite familiar stages,” said Katsuta, who lives in Rally Finland’s host city of Jyväskylä.

“Finland is a home rally. Four times I went to Estonia but I did not finish any. Let’s see how it’s going on the test, but I want to get a good result in Finland so I need to prepare for Finland in Estonia.”

The Safari marked the first top-flight podium for Irish co-driver Aaron Johnston, who joined Katsuta in Finland last year as the Japanese driver’s third different pace note reader in consecutive events.

Dan Barritt guided Katsuta to his first Kenya podium before injuring his back in Estonia. He was replaced by Keaton Williams in Belgium but the Briton was unable to start in Greece for family reasons and Johnston stepped in for the season’s final three rounds.

The pair have formed a strong partnership and Katsuta said Johnston was a key part of his run to fourth place in the points at the season’s midpoint.

“With Aaron, everything is going very, very well,” he said. “He is doing a great job organising, the pace notes, the recce and is a very good co-driver. His support is huge and his support is very good for me. It will be even better for the future.”

Video: Rally Estonia trailer
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