Katsuta can be on Estonia and Finland podium – Latvala

Both Jari-Matti Latvala and Takamoto Katsuta are sure it's not only Kenya where a top three is possible


Toyota team principal Jari-Matti Latvala is sure Takamoto Katsuta can challenge for more podiums on the next two rounds of the World Rally Championship after he claimed his second career rostrum finish on Safari Rally Kenya.

Katsuta claimed his maiden WRC podium on last year’s Safari and was back on the podium 12 months later.

It means the Toyota Next Generation driver has only ever finished on a WRC podium on Safari Rally Kenya, although he was in contention for third in Portugal this season before Dani Sordo ripped the position away from him on the final stage.


Latvala doesn’t believe that Katsuta only has affinity for Africa though, and has backed his driver to be in the fight for the top three in both Estonia and Finland.

“This rally has been very good in the past for Japanese drivers and it seems that they like these kinds of events,” Latvala told DirtFish of the Safari.

“[But] I think it’s important for Taka to push his self-confidence and then we can see that he will be fast in Estonia.

“He likes Estonia, and then it’s Finland, so I think this gives the confidence boost that he can start fighting for other podiums.”

Katsuta does have form in Estonia – lying third last year before being forced to retire when co-driver Daniel Barritt sustained his back injury.

He’s also rallied a lot in Finland, particularly in 2016 when he was part of Toyota’s Rally Challenge program. Katsuta currently resides in Finland too where Toyota Gazoo Racing’s WRC operation is based.

Asked if there were events later this season where he would be targeting further WRC podiums, Katsuta agreed with his boss and pinpointed Estonia and Finland as good opportunities.

“Yeah, next rally in Estonia and of course Finland is my home rally so I will try to push as much as I can,” he said.


“Of course there is a lot of risk but I like this kind of risk so I will try to enjoy and push at the same time and, yeah, let’s see where I can be.

“But this guy [Kalle Rovanperä, who took his first win in Estonia last year] and Elfyn [Evans], last year he won Finland, and both are quite crazy fast so try to be close to them as much as possible.

“But for sure it’s going to be fun.”