Toyota boss Makinen has 'massive' WRC development plan for Katsuta

Toyota World Rally Championship team boss Tommi Makinen is putting together a "massive programme" of development for rising Japanese star Takamoto Katsuta

Toyota boss Makinen has 'massive' WRC development plan for Katsuta

The 25-year-old has been selected ahead of Hiroki Arai, son of Japan's most famous rally driver Toshi Arai, and will move forward to the second phase of the Toyota Gazoo Racing Rally Challenge Programme next season.

Katsuta took a shock WRC2 win on Rally Sweden earlier this year, and had been pencilled in for a seat in an extra Toyota WRC entry on Rally Japan in 2019 had the event made it onto the calendar as originally expected.

The F3 convert carrying a nation's WRC hopes

The loss of Japan has forced a rethink about Katsuta's programme.

"We have a plan to give him some testing in a World Rally Car," Makinen told Autosport.

"I would like to see if we can organise him a massive programme from the beginning of the season and organise a test drive for him in [the Yaris] WRC.

"We would like to see him behind the wheel.

"It would have been good to have had him in the car in Japan. He would have known the conditions, it would have been a good story.

"Now we want to coach him, give him lots of support and advice then we'll look again at what's going on."

Katsuta tested a Yaris WRC for the first time in the summer after Rally Finland.

He is expected to contest an expanded programme of WRC2 rounds next year, driving the same Ford Fiesta R5 he used this season.

There is speculation Katsuta could be seen in a Yaris WRC as early as round two next year, with a Rally Sweden outing thought likely given his success on the event in WRC2 this season.

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Series WRC
Drivers Takamoto Katsuta
Teams Toyota Racing
Author David Evans
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