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Fri 09 Jun 2023

Confident Katsuta looks forward to Kenya

Toyota Gazoo Racing star Takamoto Katsuta says his Rally Italia Sardegna pace has boosted his confidence ahead of this month’s Safari Rally Kenya (22 - 25 June)

Katsuta has an enviable record on the Naivasha-based seventh round of the World Rally Championship, having finished on the podium there for the last two years. While his hopes of a similar result in Italy were spoiled by an over enthusiastic approach to a watersplash last week, the Japanese is remaining upbeat ahead of Kenya.

“Kenya is a good rally for me,” Katsuta told WRC.com. “I like this one; good results there for the last two years. I feel like I was showing good speed in Sardinia, the pace was good from the start on Friday morning: we did a good run in the second stage and it was nice to be fastest.

“Unfortunately, in SS8 I had the wrong approach for the watersplash; it was especially deep and I came a little too fast and had to brake into the dip, so we got quite a lot of damage and could not continue.

“It was a big disappointment and I will try to learn from it for the future.

“When we restarted on Sunday, I again felt very good with the car and I tried to push in the Wolf Power Stage. We got some points from there and it was good to finish the weekend like this. I’m looking forward to Kenya and hope we can get another good result there this year.”

Toyota team principal Jari-Matti Latvala backed Katsuta, adding: “Takamoto showed some good pace this weekend on what was a very challenging rally and we are really happy to see that speed. There were just a couple of small mistakes, which can happen, and it’s something that we will look into and analyse with him and try to improve for the future.

“We know that he has the speed to fight for the podium and now we just need to try and get the consistency. Again he showed in the Wolf Power Stage with the third-fastest time that when he attacks then the speed is there. Now he can look forward to Kenya which we know is one of his favourite events.”