WRC Spain: Toyota's Katsuta crashes out on first stage

Toyota’s Takamoto Katsuta has retired from the opening day of the penultimate round of the World Rally Championship in Spain following a crash on the first stage.

WRC Spain: Toyota's Katsuta crashes out on first stage

The Japanese driver, once again partnered by stand-in co-driver Aaron Johnston, misjudged a tight Tarmac right-hander on the Vilaplana test resulting in a heavy impact with the barriers 18km into the 20km stage.

Katsuta’s Yaris suffered significant damage to the front left of the car, the suspension and wheel taking the brunt of the impact.

Despite the damage, the Toyota development driver was able to drag the car to the finish with the front left wheel hanging off.

“We had a crash, we hit the barrier at the end of the stage,” said Katsuta.

“I misunderstood something from the pacenote, Aaron called it correct but I didn’t understand it correctly.

“I expected an easier corner but it tightened a lot. I could not stop.

“I’m very sorry for the team and Aaron as they had prepared for this event very well.

“We came here to show speed and a get a good result but unfortunately it ended by my mistake.

“I hope to be back out for tomorrow but this is not something I expected.”

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

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

Photo by: Toyota Racing

The crash is the latest in a line of incidents following a strong first half of the season that initially left Katsuta as the only driver to finish inside the top six at each of the opening six events, highlighted by a second place - a maiden podium - on June's Safari Rally.

However, since then, he was forced to retire from Estonia after regular co-driver Daniel Barritt injured his back.

A frightening crash in Belgium put him out of that event before having to withdraw ahead of the Acropolis Rally after a family emergency forced stand-in co-driver Keaton Williams out.

Last time out at Finland, Katsuta, driving with Johnston for the first time, crashed out on stage eight after clipping a tree.

It is not yet clear if Katsuta will return to action in Rally Spain under restart rules.

Aside from the crash, Toyota’s Elfyn Evans made the perfect start to Rally Spain and his title fight with team-mate Sebastien Ogier, beating the Frenchman by a whopping 8.1 seconds.

Evans eventually won the stage by 5.1s from Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville to take an early rally lead.

The WRC crews will tackle two more stages this morning before a repeat of the loop this afternoon to conclude the day’s action.

shares
comments

Related video

The steely determination behind the WRC’s Solberg 2.0
Previous article

The steely determination behind the WRC’s Solberg 2.0

Next article

WRC Spain: Evans stuns Ogier to claim early Rally Spain lead

WRC Spain: Evans stuns Ogier to claim early Rally Spain lead
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