Mon 27 Nov 2023

Latvala lauds Taka on 'best performance' so far

Toyota team principal Jari-Matti Latvala has praised Takamoto Katsuta for his best performance ever during FORUM8 Rally Japan.

The Japanese star, who has been confirmed as a full-time Toyota driver next season, won 10 of 22 stages on his way to fifth place in Aichi. Katsuta’s hopes of a maiden WRC win were dashed when he went off the road on the opening morning of competition. After that, his speed was the talk of the event.


Latvala said: “It was great to see Taka fighting back to fifth position after his unfortunate incident on Friday.


“He never gave up and kept fighting until the last day. Speed-wise I think it was the best performance we have seen from him and [it] demonstrates the potential he has.


“He showed he can win multiple stages in a row and be consistently quick, which is really promising.”


The Finn added that he was pleased to see Katsuta ending the year on a high.


He said: “Overall, he has done really good steps this year. The beginning of the season was tough for him but in the second half of the year his confidence has been growing and that’s encouraging for us.”


Katsuta admitted he had mixed feeling about the season’s finale. He said: “In terms of the speed, we could have very good pace in almost all of the stages, so I need to take this kind of speed and confidence into the future.


“Of course, I feel disappointed about what happened at the beginning of the rally but after that I was able to bounce back very quickly. I felt so good and comfortable with the car during the whole weekend, and a huge thanks to the team for fixing it because I was able to really push afterwards.”


“Next time, I want to bring a good result. I’m very happy for the team finishing the rally 1-2-3, so congratulations to all of them and I want to say a huge thanks to all of the fans who were supporting me everywhere and giving me extra energy.”

Latvia
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