Fri 04 Nov 2022

Taka poised for home charge

Takamoto Katsuta says his confidence is where it needs to be ahead of next week’s FORUM8 Rally Japan (10 - 13 November), his first attempt at a home round of the FIA World Rally Championship.

The Toyota Gazoo Racing star has enjoyed a solid season with nine top-six results and a repeat of his Safari Rally Kenya podium. But by his own admission, building confidence on asphalt has been a big part of his year. His seventh place in Spain last month completed that task.

“The feeling for me with the car on Tarmac is very good now,” he said. “I have the confidence – this has been coming since Ypres in Belgium in the summer.

“The car is really working with me now and I feel the Tarmac driving is getting better and better. In Spain, maybe I was a little bit disappointed with the overall position, but a few times maybe I pushed a little bit too much and made some small mistake.”

Katsuta knows the Aichi-based finale will be a big event for him. It’s the first time the WRC has visited Japan since 2010 and, when that happened, the 29-year-old hadn’t even begun rallying. 

“Of course I know this will be a big rally,” he said. “There will be a lot of interest from the people, from the fans and for the team. 

"For me, a little bit Finland is also like a home rally – I am living there for all the time as a rally driver, but coming to Japan is really home.

“I know it will be quite a different rally in Japan, with different kind of roads from what we have seen. But I will do my best and, of course, I’m going to enjoy Japanese stages!”

And, to make matters even more interesting, Katsuta’s father - Norihiko - will also contest the event. He will also drive a GR Yaris, albeit not in Rally1 specification. 

“He is still competing,” Katsuta laughed. “He is an eight-time Japanese champion and he’s still going! Of course, it will be very nice to do the same rally as my father.

“Maybe I can give him some information about the conditions or something, but I don’t think I will have so much time! We’ll be under pressure and quite busy like always. My father knows very well about rallying and we will focus on our own rallies.”

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