How Katsuta plans to snare another Safari podium

The Toyota driver has never finished outside the top-three in Africa


Safari Rally Kenya is one of the most challenging World Rally Championship events that pushes drivers right to their very limit.

The current incarnation of the rally might not be the same as the original, true Safari event, but it still generates massive challenges for teams and drivers, often resulting in the pecking order becoming somewhat of a lottery.

But one driver who has so far avoided the lottery and has always excelled since the Safari’s return is Takamoto Katsuta.

On both his previous outings in Africa, Katsuta has reached the podium – second in 2021 and third last year – after deploying a very specific tactic.



And he plans on doing the same again this year.

“Anything can happen so I just, let’s say, see the one and a half day step by step, then if I need a big push or save something, I will go like this,” Katsuta told DirtFish.

“Anything is possible. Anything can happen, especially there.”

Katsuta didn’t win a single stage on the 2022 running of the event, often ending stages in the lower half of the top 10, but when a push was needed, he proved he could be right on the pace of the frontrunners.

It’s a method he’s tried to use on various rallies in 2023, but it’s not always worked out. However, in Safari those probabilities head back much more in the Toyota driver’s favor.

Katusta’s 2023 Safar Rally didn’t get off to the greatest of starts, with the Toyota driver rolling his car on shakedown. But that will hit home his point even harder.


He knows it’s not straightforward. He’s going to need to remain calm and bide his time.

“Of course, my target is to get a good result here, but if you are expecting too much and pushing too much something happens so I need to be very calm to start step by step,” he said.

“Of course starting position also, it’s hard to say front is better or back is better.

“It’s a very big lottery, so I just need to prepare well mentally to not rush too much myself to avoid the mistakes and punctures and things, then we’ll be good.”