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WRC Rally Kenya

Katsuta to start WRC Safari Rally Kenya despite shakedown roll

Toyota’s Takamoto Katsuta is expected to start Safari Rally Kenya on Thursday despite suffering a spectacular roll in shakedown at the notoriously challenging World Rally Championship event.

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

The two-time Safari Rally podium finisher rolled his GR Yaris during his third shakedown run which ripped the rear wing and damaged the right rear of his car.

The car was transported to the Naivasha service park where Toyota began to repair the vehicle following an FIA inspection that confirmed the GR Yaris’ roll cage hadn’t been damaged in the crash.

The car will now make the trip to Kenya’s capital Nairobi to contest the opening super special stage.

“We did three runs and on the third run there is a small jump into the braking for the hairpin right and there was small bump on the entry to the corner,” said Katsuta.

“I was braking into this bump and straight away the car started to roll.

 

“To be honest I was quite surprised because the first two runs nothing really happened, but on the third run it did.

“I’m very sorry for the team. It was looking really bad but nowadays the car is full of carbon panels. It looks really bad, but actually the damage wasn’t too bad and the roll cage is okay. The FIA checked it and it was all okay.

“I’m sorry for the team by making them busy but I will try to give them back a positive result.”

Katsuta wasn’t the only driver to hit trouble in shakedown as Safari Rally debutant Hyundai’s Esapekka Lappi failed to log a time after suffering two mechanical issues.

Esapekka Lappi, Hyundai World Rally Team

Esapekka Lappi, Hyundai World Rally Team

Photo by: Fabien Dufour / Hyundai Motorsport

A prop shaft failure forced the Finn to stop on his first run. Hyundai attempted to repair the problem at a remote service before Lappi came to a halt again on his second run, with the issue believed to be of a similar nature.

"The first time we had a broken prop shaft and then the second, the car is still on its way here and the team will inspect, but I had some bad mechanical noise so I stopped,” said Lappi.

Hyundai will have time to inspect the problem ahead of Thursday morning’s ceremonial start and Kasarani super special.

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The shakedown was topped by last year’s winner and championship leader Kalle Rovanpera, who emerged 1.5s faster than M-Sport-Ford’s Ott Tanak on the 5.40km stage.

Eight-time world champion Sebastien Ogier was third fastest for Toyota ahead Thierry Neuville, who was the top Hyundai runner, 2.4s adrift.

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