Why Katsuta feels more relaxed ahead of CER and Japan

The Japanese driver admitted the confirmation of Toyota's manufacturers' crown has relieved pressure from his shoulders


Toyota driver Takamoto Katsuta says he feels a little more relaxed now his team has secured the World Rally Championship manufacturers’ title with two rounds to spare.

The Japanese marque wrapped up its seventh WRC crown on Rally Chile, continuing its perfect record since the appointment of team principal Jari-Matti Latvala in 2021.

For Katsuta, who helped secure the title by taking fifth place plus an additional powerstage point in Chile, it was a satisfying milestone to achieve at the end of a tough but enjoyable weekend.

“For sure I get good feelings on this rally,” he told DirtFish after the event. “The rally itself and the stages are very, very nice. But very, very demanding.

“The tire management is very different. So yeah, I was struggling but at the same time I learned many things, so hopefully this experience helped for the future.

“To get also the manufacturers’ title gives a little bit reduced pressure for myself.”

The release of pressure comes at the just the right time for Katsuta, allowing him to focus clearly on the year’s two remaining events. Both are on on asphalt, and the season-ending Rally Japan is his and Toyota’s home event.


“Now I just focus on the next two rallies,” Katsuta said. “Especially Rally Japan which will be a big event for me. So I will do my best there.”

Last year’s edition marked Katsuta’s first attempt at his home round of the world championship, and it resulted in a third-place finish – his first ever WRC podium on asphalt.

When asked about his form on that surface, Katsuta admitted he’s still searching for improvements.

“For sure I continue [to improve] as a Tarmac driver,” he said. “I can still improve on many things.”


“I should have a much better skill in some things than last year, so hopefully this will evolve. I was working on changing the driving style and things, so I really want to see how it works.”

The Central European Rally next week will be a litmus test for his new approach, although the all-new WRC round does present one key difference to the Japanese stages.

“For sure we can do something in CER as well. But CER will be a lot of cutting, and Rally Japan not really much. So this is the only difference.

“CER will be quite different and demanding, so let’s see how it goes.”