Katsuta retains Toyota WRC development role for 2022

Toyota has retained the services of Takamoto Katsuta to pilot its fourth car in the World Rally Championship next year. 

Takamoto Katsuta, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT

Confirmation of a new deal comes after breakthrough maiden full WRC campaign for the Japanese, highlighted by a first podium with second on this year’s Safari Rally. 

The Japanese driver made his full WRC debut with Toyota in 2019 and has since headed up the squad’s effective ‘B’ team for the last two seasons, run under the Toyota Gazoo Racing WRC Challenge moniker.   

Katsuta will however be paired with co-driver Aaron Johnston next season as regular navigator Daniel Barritt ends his run with the driver after a three year stint. Barritt has been absent from the WRC since sustaining a neck and back injury alongside Katsuta, which forced the pair to withdraw from Rally Estonia in July.

Keaton Williams was drafted in as a stand-in for Barritt for Belgium before personal issues forced him out of the following Acropolis Rally. Johnston, former co-driver to Hyundai's Oliver Solberg, joined Katsuta from Rally Finland earlier this month.  

“I’m looking forward to next year and the new generation of car, which will be very interesting and challenging,” said Katsuta.

“A lot will change and I’m really excited to see how it all feels in the car and also what we can achieve. I’m also looking forward to continue working with Aaron; we already have a very good relationship and I am sure we can make it even stronger as we do more rallies together. 

“I want to thank Dan very much for his huge support since 2016. Without it, I wouldn’t have achieved any of the good results we have managed together. 

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

“He has given me so much advice and we had many fun moments, and we will still be working closely outside of the car. 

“Thank you to Toyota Gazoo Racing for their support. I’m very happy to be working with this team and I will continue to work hard to get good results.”

The news arrives after Toyota confirmed its full manufacturer 2022 WRC driver line-up, spearheaded by Elfyn Evans and Kalle Rovanpera, while the third car will be shared between seven-time world champion Sebastien Ogier and team returnee Esapekka Lappi.

Katsuta enjoyed a strong first half of the season as the only driver to finish the first six events inside the top six. But since then, his season has been hit by incidents and misfortune.

In Estonia and Acropolis he was forced to withdraw due to issues surrounding co-drivers, while crashes forced him out of Belgium, Finland and Spain.

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