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Katsuta identifies “next step” required to claim first WRC win

Takamoto Katsuta has identified the next step he needs to take in his own personal development as a driver to clinch a maiden World Rally Championship victory.

Takamoto Katsuta, Aaron Johnston, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota GR Yaris Rally1

Photo by: Toyota Racing

The Toyota driver recorded a fifth career WRC podium finish earlier this month after finishing second at Safari Rally Kenya.

The result equalled the Japanese driver’s best finish, also achieved in Kenya when he finished runner-up to Sebastien Ogier in 2021.

Competing in his fifth season in the WRC’s top flight, Katsuta has enjoyed rapid development to join the WRC’s elite driver group. His result in Kenya arrived after challenging for a maiden victory in Sweden before a costly error.

The 31-year-old former circuit racer believes there is one more area he needs to improve on before he can stand on the top step of the podium.

“Of course, I am happy [to be back on the podium], I’m happy for the team,” said Katsuta.

“After Sweden, it was a huge disappointment for me because I had such a strong car, and I was having a very good fight with Esapekka [Lappi] but after my mistake, everything was over.

“I was so frustrated with myself but this rally [in Kenya] was totally different. Sometimes you need to be flat out but you need patience also and I learned a lot from last year and somehow it works well and it paid off in the end. I’m pretty happy I could still improve but I’m happy."

Takamoto Katsuta, Aaron Johnston, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota GR Yaris Rally1

Takamoto Katsuta, Aaron Johnston, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota GR Yaris Rally1

Photo by: Toyota Racing

When asked if he feels he is getting closer to a first win, he added: “If I want to take a first win, I need to improve. In some stages, I back off a little bit too much and if you look at Kalle [Rovanpera] and Seb [Ogier] for example, when they back off it is not too much.

“They know how much they need to back off and this is what I will look for as the next step, then after that, I can probably be able to get a victory because the top six drivers, they can win any time and it is never easy to beat them.

“But I need to try and improve. I want to be there, so this is the next step.”

Katsuta is lying sixth in the championship standings, 16 points adrift of third ahead of the WRC’s visit to Croatia next week.

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