Toy­ota to boost Kat­suta’s ex­pe­ri­ence

Motor Sport News - - Rally News -

Toy­ota has con­firmed a ‘mas­sive pro­gramme’ of test­ing for ris­ing Ja­panese rally star Takamoto Kat­suta.

The 25-year-old and his coun­try­man Hiroki Arai have been part of the Toy­ota Ga­zoo Rac­ing Rally Chal­lenge Pro­gramme for the last two years – but only Kat­suta will move for­ward to the next level phase of the scheme.

Kat­suta, who took his maiden WRC2 win on Rally Swe­den this sea­son, will con­tinue to drive at that level, us­ing a Ford Fi­esta R5 (Toy­ota doesn’t have an R5 car), but as well as that he has been linked to out­ings in a Yaris WRC.

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

TGR team prin­ci­pal Tommi Maki­nen con­firmed his plan for Kat­suta to MN, say­ing: “We have a plan to give him some test­ing in a World Rally Car. 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.”

The orig­i­nal plan was for Kat­suta to run a fourth Yaris WRC at Rally Ja­pan, but when the Hon­shu-based event failed to make the 2019 cal­en­dar, the team was forced into a re­think.

“It would have been good to have had him in the car in Ja­pan,” said Maki­nen. “It would have been a good story. Now we want to coach him, give him lots of sup­port and ad­vice then we look again at what’s go­ing on.”

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