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Tue 28 Mar 2023

Taka: Full focus on Portugal

Takamoto Katsuta is concentrating his efforts on getting back on the pace in time for Vodafone Rally de Portugal (11 - 14 May) after his Guanajuato Rally México crash.

The Japanese driver suffered a high-speed roll on day one of the FIA World Rally Championship’s third round earlier this month, resulting in his second accident-related retirement in as many rallies.

Katsuta will contest next month’s Croatia Rally (20 - 23 April) but will not score manufacturers’ championship points, as part-time GR Yaris team-mate Sébastien Ogier is also competing.

The 30-year-old has set himself a target to be back on the frontrunning pace by Vodafone Rally de Portugal in May, the next gravel round on the calendar.

“The most important thing for me is Portugal,” he told WRC.com. “That’s more important for myself and for the team I would say, so I need to prepare well mentally to be able to push in Portugal.

“I just need to spend time building the confidence and getting to the finish in Croatia, then we go to Portugal. This is the plan.”

Katsuta’s Toyota Gazoo Racing mechanics repaired his car on Friday in Mexico, enabling him to rejoin the field and complete the final two days. While there were no more major dramas, a lack of stage knowledge meant he struggled to regain his confidence.

“It was not so easy to get back the confidence or the feeling because, basically, every stage was new for me,” he explained.

“I didn’t expect such huge grip changes and, unfortunately, I could not use the car to its full potential. Hopefully in the future I can learn from this experience and use the car more fully”.

WATCH: Katsuta rolls in Mexico