Takamoto Katsuta’s regular co-driver Dan Barritt is set to miss next month’s Ypres Rally as he recovers from injury, and will be replaced by Keaton Williams.
Barritt felt pain in his neck and back after a jump on the fourth stage of Rally Estonia two weeks ago, forcing the Toyota Yaris WRC into an early retirement as the pair did not want to risk aggravating any injuries Barritt had sustained.
He did not break any bones but Barritt, a former co-driver of Elfyn Evans, was advised to rest, telling DirtFish last week: “I’m so disappointed about what’s happened. For me now, I’m focused on recuperating at home and making sure everything’s as it should be.”
He will therefore miss the WRC’s first ever round in Belgium as he continues his recovery, but DirtFish understands the intention is for Barritt to compete on the following round, the Acropolis Rally in Greece, on September 9-12.
Williams was due to compete on the Ypres Rally anyway alongside his regular driver Josh McErlean in WRC3.
He will now however step up to make his top-line World Rally Championship debut alongside Katsuta, having previously sat in on a couple of tests with the Toyota junior earlier this year.
The 26-year-old will become the third stand-in co-driver of the season in the top class.
Seb Marshall co-drove for Oliver Solberg when his regular partner Aaron Johnston was unable to travel to Arctic Rally Finland due to a positive COVID-19 test result, while Stuart Loudon stepped in for Chris Patterson alongside Gus Greensmith in Italy.
The Ypres Rally entry list was released on Friday, and confirmed that Adrien Fourmaux will drive M-Sport’s second Ford Fiesta WRC, with Teemu Suninen piloting the Rally2 version in WRC2.
The WRC2 entry is headlined by Solberg and Jari Huttunen, who will give the all-new Hyundai i20 N Rally2 its competition debut. M-Sport’s Tom Kristensson and Nikolay Gryazin will be their rivals along with Suninen.
Entered in WRC3 are 19 crews, including Hyundai junior McErlean – now partnered by James Fulton – championship leader Yohan Rossel, and a host of Belgian locals such as Kris Princen, Davy Vanneste and Cédric De Cecco.
Only six of the eight registered Junior WRC crews will compete as Martin Koči and Raul Badiu are both absent.