Katsuta relieved to end Estonia curse


Round seven of this year’s FIA World Rally Championship gave the Japanese star the chance to put things right.

On his fifth attempt, the Toyota Gazoo Racing Next Generation driver finished fifth relieved. That result came after a third barrel roll on Estonian soil, but this time a crash during the pre-event shakedown didn’t impact his result.

“It’s good to do it!” he smiled. “I was worried on Thursday after the accident. It was a small mistake and I immediately wondered if we could fix the car and get to the start. The team did a fantastic job fixing the car and c was perfect.

“It’s not an easy rally and this year has been tougher than last time because the bushes and trees had grown a bit – I felt like the roads were narrower.

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“The rhythm notes had to be completely perfect, especially with some of the big blocks by the side of the road. It would have been very easy to take a wheel off of them.”

Katsuta admitted that it took a while to settle into a rhythm after his shakedown shunt.

“I was pretty careful,” he added. “When the rain came and the grip changed it wasn’t so fun to drive. Then we had ruts and I wasn’t as engaged. [after the shakedown crash].

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“I wanted to attack and I wanted to get a good result but at the beginning I had a lot of trouble in the car and the feeling was not very good. I had to accept what I had to do this weekend and we ‘ve done. If you care for even a small amount, then no chance.

“At the end of the weekend, especially Sunday, I had a pretty good feeling with the car. Of course, I still lacked a bit of rhythm compared to Kalle, Elfyn and EP [team-mates Rovanperä, Evans and Esapekka Lappi]but I’m pretty happy with the weekend.

Katsuta has finished every round this season in the top eight, the only rider to do so outside of championship-leading teammate Kalle Rovanperä. He is fifth in the standings.


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