The honesty of the answer was trademark Takamoto Katsuta, but it was still surprising. Where had he lost time in Estonia last week? Every corner. What did he need? More speed. The season so far? Very bad.
His post-event interview with DirtFish was both analytical and forthright. Things need to change and he’s more acutely aware of that than anybody else.
The Japanese struggled for pace throughout the Tartu-based event, eventually finishing seventh.
Asked for an assessment of his own performance, he said: “The performance itself, I’m not happy. I should bring more speed and show some speed as well, but this is what I wanted – but then I have not really [had] much speed.
“I was struggling a lot in the beginning and then it was improving, improving and then at the end I still didn’t feel so super-good feeling compared to Elfyn [Evans] and Kalle’s [Rovanperä] times, so I need to find out what was wrong.
“This kind of rally it’s very important to commit to every single corner. I think probably, I’m not really sure yet, we need to check, but probably this is what I’m missing a bit: like every single corner I’m slightly missing the commitment.
“[If you’re] not on the limit, then basically you are losing 0.1 [of a second] on every single corner – then you have no chance to be in this kind of high-speed stage. I think this kind of thing is what’s happening to me.”
Losing a top-six place to Pierre-Louis Loubet on the final stage further darkened Katsuta’s mood as he reflected on a year where he’s yet to trouble the podium and a messy fourth in Kenya offers a season-high to date.
“OK,” he said, “now I try to talk to you very honestly. So far, this season is very bad for me. I am not happy at all. I should not do like this when you are in a factory car.
“I should be more performing well and more show the speed, at least a few podiums – this is definitely what I need to do, especially with this GR Yaris. This is my opinion, but I think this is what I really need to do this year and in the future.”
The immediate future takes Katsuta to his adopted home of Finland. Next week’s Jyväskylä-based event is one of his favorites.
“Of course,” he said, “I try to do my best in Finland, try to improve from this weekend. It looks like it’s not so easy to find out everything straight away, but, of course, in the team-mates, Kalle and Elfyn, they both are quick so I try to find and compare data, onboard and everything as much as I can with engineers before Finland.
“I have one-day test so I try to do many things to try and be ready for the big opportunity in Finland.”