Toyota president left “shaking” after breakthrough Katsuta podium

Toyota president Akiyo Toyoda has revealed he was left shaking with excitement after witnessing Japanese driver Takamoto Katsuta score a maiden World Rally Championship podium in Kenya.

Toyota president left “shaking” after breakthrough Katsuta podium
Listen to this article

Katsuta produced arguably the drive of his career at last weekend’s Safari Rally to finish second behind Toyota teammate and winner Sebastien Ogier, to claim his first top flight WRC podium.

Competing in his first full-time campaign with Toyota, the 28-year-old has impressed this season, and is the only driver to finish inside the top six at all six events to date.

Despite a bout of food poisoning on the recce, Katsuta led the Safari Rally on Sunday, before being overhauled by Ogier, who went on to win the event by 21.8s.

The WRC podium for Katsuta was the first scored by a Japanese driver since Kenjiro Shinozuka finished second at the 1994 Safari Rally.

Katsuta’s success prompted significant praise from the Toyota president, who has been following his compatriot’s progress closely. 

“Takamoto, it was fantastic! I’m very happy with what he has achieved,” said Toyoda. 

“He started the final day ahead of Seb, kept running for the victory and finally stood on the podium. It was so impressive that I was shaking. 

“Since this afternoon, I have been communicating with his father a lot. Both of us were so anxious and not able to do anything else. I am lucky that I was off today. 

“He has completed the rally on those very harsh roads which he has never experienced before, fighting for victory with the world’s top drivers. 

“I think, in this rally alone, he has grown up a lot more than he did before. There are six rallies left in this season, and the last one is Rally Japan. It is going to be very exciting.” 

Read Also:

Katsuta described the podium result as a special feeling before crediting his team’s physio for speeding up his recovery from food poisoning prior to the event. 

“I’m very happy and it is quite a special feeling because it has been a tough weekend,” said Katsuta.

“In the beginning of the week I had food poisoning and I have been quite sick and it was so difficult to do recce, but now we are here and everything works well and I want to say thank you to all of the team.

“On the recce day I was [ill] but our physio and the guys fixed me so in the rally I didn’t have any problems and I could 100 percent concentrate on the pace notes.

“I told myself now is not the time to fight Seb. In the future I will try to catch Seb and want to fight but I need to improve a lot.”

Seven-time WRC champion Ogier also heaped praise on his teammate following his impressive display.

“That guy [Takamoto] is very humble and he deserves a really big applause because this weekend has had such a strong performance,” Ogier added.

shares
comments

Related video

Vatanen to be reunited with WRC title-winning Ford after 40 years
Previous article

Vatanen to be reunited with WRC title-winning Ford after 40 years

Next article

Results won’t change Ogier’s mind on WRC future

Results won’t change Ogier’s mind on WRC future
Ranking the top 10 WRC drivers of 2022 Prime

Ranking the top 10 WRC drivers of 2022

The World Rally Championship welcomed in a new hybrid era in 2022, presenting an unknown challenge to the planet's top rally aces. New records were broken, as Toyota's leading charge became the youngest-ever title-winner, while familiar returning faces mixed it up with the new generation. Motorsport.com picks out the 10 best performers from the year

WRC
15 h
The key steps on Rovanpera's romp to a history-making WRC title Prime

The key steps on Rovanpera's romp to a history-making WRC title

With only cameo roles played by legendary Sebastiens Ogier and Loeb, Kalle Rovanpera ushered in the new hybrid era for the World Rally Championship by becoming its youngest champion. Here's how Toyota's Flying Finn crushed the competition, led by Hyundai's departing star Ott Tanak.

WRC
Dec 1, 2022
How trailblazer Kalle Rovanpera has ripped up the WRC record book Prime

How trailblazer Kalle Rovanpera has ripped up the WRC record book

At the tender age of 22, Kalle Rovanpera is redefining what’s possible to achieve in rallying and inspiring a new legion of fans as a result. The newly-crowned World Rally Championship title-winner and his peers reflect on his ability and the start of his success in the top tier.

WRC
Nov 26, 2022
How Hyundai and Neuville gatecrashed Toyota's homecoming party Prime

How Hyundai and Neuville gatecrashed Toyota's homecoming party

Thierry Neuville signed off the 2022 World Rally Championship season with his second win of the season in Japan after Toyota rival Elfyn Evans suffered a late puncture. With Sebastien Ogier and Kalle Rovanpera also delayed by punctures and incidents, it opened the door for Neuville and Ott Tanak to record Hyundai's second 1-2 of the season in Toyota's own backyard

WRC
Nov 14, 2022
The message a WRC stalwart sent which its new king couldn’t answer Prime

The message a WRC stalwart sent which its new king couldn’t answer

Sebastien Ogier might be the outgoing World Rally champion, but it didn’t stop him reminding everyone of the skills that made him an eight-time world champion. As victory at Rally Spain led Toyota’s charge to a titles clean sweep, it did pose a question to newly-crowned champion Kalle Rovanpera which he could not answer

WRC
Oct 24, 2022
Motorsport.com gets to grips as a WRC co-driver Prime

Motorsport.com gets to grips as a WRC co-driver

The majority of headlines may focus on the exploits of drivers in the World Rally Championship, but the challenges facing their co-drivers is no less demanding. We got in the passenger seat with Toyota Gazoo Racing to find out just what it takes to succeed

WRC
Oct 6, 2022
How Rally New Zealand encapsulated record-breaking Rovanpera’s WRC title charge Prime

How Rally New Zealand encapsulated record-breaking Rovanpera’s WRC title charge

Kalle Rovanpera’s coronation as the new World Rally Championship king had been a long time coming, only to be postponed by hiccups in Belgium and Greece. But at Rally New Zealand the “Full Send” Finn demonstrated exactly how he's been able to rewrite the rallying record book as he stormed to victory to become the youngest ever world champion

WRC
Oct 3, 2022
How team orders could make Hyundai's historic Acropolis Rally a Greek tragedy Prime

How team orders could make Hyundai's historic Acropolis Rally a Greek tragedy

Thierry Neuville led a maiden Hyundai 1-2-3 in the World Rally Championship, as the previously soft i20 N became a battle-hardened Greek warrior at the Acropolis Rally. But with team orders in play between the winner and Hyundai’s title protagonist Ott Tanak, could the result come back to haunt the team?

WRC
Sep 12, 2022