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

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
Load comments
How Finland's newest rally hero made WRC history in Estonia Prime

How Finland's newest rally hero made WRC history in Estonia

Kalle Rovanpera broke a decade-old record in becoming the World Rally Championship's youngest-ever winner in a truly dominant performance on Estonia's fast gravel roads. Staving off the challenge of Hyundai's Craig Breen, his committed drive showed a maturity beyond his 20 years that gives Toyota's post-Ogier era a far brighter complexion

WRC
Jul 19, 2021
How WRC's new Safari adventure ended with a familiar tale Prime

How WRC's new Safari adventure ended with a familiar tale

The World Rally Championship’s delayed return to the Safari Rally was always set throw up some surprises, but aside from a spirited showing by Thierry Neuville it became another painful event for Hyundai in 2021. Once again it was Sebastien Ogier who took full advantage as he completed a stunning comeback drive

WRC
Jun 28, 2021
Remembering Colin McRae’s final WRC win Prime

Remembering Colin McRae’s final WRC win

The Safari Rally returns to the World Rally Championship this weekend for the first time since 2002 - when crowd favourite Colin McRae set aside the maximum attack style for which he was renowned to deliver a textbook third win.

WRC
Jun 23, 2021
How Hyundai's broken record gave Toyota a special Sardinia 1-2 Prime

How Hyundai's broken record gave Toyota a special Sardinia 1-2

For the second WRC gravel rally in a row, a promising Friday for Hyundai turned into desolation as Toyota gratefully picked up the pieces. This time it was championship leader Sebastien Ogier who took full advantage after Ott Tanak and Dani Sordo retired to score a memorable victory, having swept the road on the first two days

WRC
Jun 7, 2021
Why there's no easy fix for Hyundai's operational Achilles Heel Prime

Why there's no easy fix for Hyundai's operational Achilles Heel

Hyundai Motorsport boss Andrea Adamo was vocal in his criticism of his team's tyre choices on Rally Croatia and declared that he "had better move my ass and solve it". Doing so will be vital to getting Hyundai's 2021 WRC title hopes back on track, but finding the root of the problem won't be the work of a moment

WRC
Apr 28, 2021
How Ogier survived road crash drama to triumph in Croatia Prime

How Ogier survived road crash drama to triumph in Croatia

Sebastien Ogier was already in an incredibly tight fight at Rally Croatia before a surprise collision with public road traffic at the start of the final day. But the defending champion held his nerve to take a narrow victory and create further World Rally Championship history

WRC
Apr 26, 2021
Why WRC's hybrid path could leave it at a crossroads Prime

Why WRC's hybrid path could leave it at a crossroads

With all three major manufacturers committing to the World Rally Championship’s hybrid era from 2022, the future of the series is assured for now, but it could lead to trickier twists and turns further down the road

WRC
Apr 1, 2021
How Tanak froze out the competition at the Arctic Rally Prime

How Tanak froze out the competition at the Arctic Rally

Ott Tanak made up for a disastrous Monte Carlo Rally by leading all the way on the snow-kissed stages of the Arctic Rally Finland and in the process hit back at an event Toyota had been expected to dominate…

WRC
Mar 1, 2021