Katsuta drafts in ex-Oliver Solberg WRC co-driver for Rally Finland

Toyota World Rally Championship driver Takamoto Katsuta will team up with Oliver Solberg’s former co-driver Aaron Johnston for next week’s Rally Finland.

Katsuta drafts in ex-Oliver Solberg WRC co-driver for Rally Finland

This will be the third co-driver Katsuta has worked alongside this season following a series of unexpected events.

Regular co-driver Daniel Barritt sustained a neck and back injury during July’s Rally Estonia and has been on the sidelines ever since.

Keaton Williams was then drafted in to sit in for Barritt, competing with Katsuta for the first time in August’s Ypres Rally, but was forced to withdraw from the Acropolis Rally due to a family emergency that required Williams to return home. His departure left Katsuta without co-driver and unable to compete in the Greek event.

Williams is unable to contest next week’s outing in Finland due to his ongoing personal situation and with Barritt still not ready to return, Katsuta has called up Johnston to fill the void.

The drive for Johnston comes just days after it was confirmed he would part ways with Solberg after a three-year partnership. Johnston has already made a top flight WRC appearance this season when he joined Solberg to drive in June’s Safari Rally.

“I will compete Rally Finland with Aaron Johnston. I’m so excited we will do our best and I must say, thanks to Dan for your huge support behind us always,” said Katsuta.

“Thank you very much Keaton Williams for the hard work with me.

“Life can be hard but I fully agree with your decision. I hope you will be back in a rally car when everything is clear in the future. You are a great co-driver. Stay strong.”

Takamoto Katsuta, Keaton Williams, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota Yaris WRC

Takamoto Katsuta, Keaton Williams, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota Yaris WRC

Photo by: McKlein / Motorsport Images

Williams added: “As many of you know, I had to withdraw from WRC Greece for personal reasons.

“Unfortunately, the situation is still ongoing, so for now, my rallying career puts be put on pause.

“Thank you to everyone for your kind messages, I hope to see you on the stages soon.”

Katsuta and new co-driver Johnston have teamed up this week for Toyota’s pre-Finland test to gather some valuable mileage.

Katsuta will be one of five Toyota Yaris WRC entries in Finland as Esapekka Lappi joins regulars Sebastien Ogier, Elfyn Evans and Kalle Rovanpera in a one-off drive.

shares
comments

Related video

Gravel Notes Podcast: Petter Solberg’s Acropolis Rally review
Previous article

Gravel Notes Podcast: Petter Solberg’s Acropolis Rally review

Next article

Breen expects "concrete" 2022 WRC future update in coming weeks

Breen expects "concrete" 2022 WRC future update in coming weeks
How fired-up Ogier became the WRC's ultimate Monte master Plus

How fired-up Ogier became the WRC's ultimate Monte master

He may only be contesting a part-time campaign in the World Rally Championship these days, but Sebastien Ogier underlined that he's lost none of his speed in the 2023 season opener. Storming to yet another victory on the Monte Carlo Rally, the eight-time world champion rewrote the history books again as Toyota served notice of its intentions with a crushing 1-2

WRC
Jan 23, 2023
How Lancia pulled off its famous Monte Carlo giantkilling Plus

How Lancia pulled off its famous Monte Carlo giantkilling

Audi should have been invincible in the snowy conditions that typically greeted the World Rally Championship paddock in Monte Carlo. But unexpectedly warm weather for the 1983 season opener, combined with some left-field thinking from the Lancia crew turned the tables. Forty years on, team boss Cesare Fiorio reflects on a smash and grab

WRC
Jan 21, 2023
Why M-Sport has pinned all its efforts on a WRC reunion Plus

Why M-Sport has pinned all its efforts on a WRC reunion

M-Sport had a disastrous 2022 with its Rally1 Ford Pumas following Sebastien Loeb’s first-time-out win on the Monte. But now things are looking up with 2019 world champion Ott Tanak leading its attack, and the Cumbrian operation has optimism that it can challenge for a first title since Sebastien Ogier's departure at the end of 2018

WRC
Jan 19, 2023
The contenders seeking to take Rovanpera's WRC crown Plus

The contenders seeking to take Rovanpera's WRC crown

As Kalle Rovanpera begins his World Rally Championship title defence in Monte Carlo, the Finn knows he has a target on his back. But who is best placed to knock the Toyota ace off his perch?

WRC
Jan 19, 2023
Why Rovanpera is anticipating a fight to defend his WRC title Plus

Why Rovanpera is anticipating a fight to defend his WRC title

Question: what could be harder than becoming the youngest-ever World Rally champion? Answer: becoming the youngest-ever two-time World Rally champion. That's quite the challenge facing Toyota's Kalle Rovanpera in 2022, particularly against rejuvenated opposition in the second year of the WRC's hybrid regulations

WRC
Jan 18, 2023
From F1 to WRC: Why Hyundai's new boss could be an inspired signing Plus

From F1 to WRC: Why Hyundai's new boss could be an inspired signing

OPINION: New Hyundai WRC team boss Cyril Abiteboul admits he’s got a lot to learn as he leads the marque's efforts to dethrone Toyota. But could his Formula 1 experience and evident strengths mean he turns out to be an inspired choice?

WRC
Jan 18, 2023
The ultimate rally car project the WRC is glad COVID killed Plus

The ultimate rally car project the WRC is glad COVID killed

Toyota was unstoppable in the 2021 World Rally Championship, with an excellent 75% strike rate from 12 rallies. But in a scary proposition for its rivals, the Japanese marque had built a car for the final year of the previous regulations set which it believes was much faster and could feasibly have crushed the opposition completely. Here the story of its mothballed world-beater

WRC
Jan 1, 2023
Autosport writers' most memorable moments of 2022 Plus

Autosport writers' most memorable moments of 2022

The season just gone was a memorable one for many of our staff writers, who are fortunate enough to cover motorsport around the world. Here are our picks of the best (and in some cases, most eventful) from 2022

Formula 1
Dec 31, 2022