Takamoto Katsuta’s run of consecutive World Rally Championship points finishes in 2022 looks to be over after he crashed out on Saturday’s penultimate stage of Rally New Zealand.
Katsuta was lying fifth overall before the second pass of Puhoi, 18.4 seconds clear of Oliver Solberg who had struggling with a misfiring Hyundai on the previous test.
But Katsuta, who has finished in the top 10 of all 10 rounds of the season so far, failed to make hay as he ran wide on an acute left hander and slid off the edge of the road and down into the trees.
Solberg may now be up a position but his misfiring engine continued to cause him strife on Puhoi 2.
“Sometimes it cleared, very seldom, but the more I revved the better it went”, he explained. “I felt better this afternoon, but with this now it’s really s***. It’s how it is.”
Out front, Kalle Rovanperä continues to lead the rally after going fastest yet again by 6.6s, extending his rally lead up to a whopping 28.1s.
On pace alone Ogier would be 18.1s behind, but he picked up a 10s time penalty for checking into SS12 one minute late.
Ott Tänak’s pace has dramatically decreased in the afternoon. He’s now 40.3s off the lead.
But while Tänak is struggling in his Hyundai i20 N Rally1 car, the same cannot be said for Hayden Paddon in WRC2.
He was eighth fastest on the Puhoi test and is now sixth overall.