Toyota president left “shaking” after breakthrough Katsuta podium

Toyota president Akiyo Toyoda has revealed he was left shaking with excitement after witnessing Japanese driver Takamoto Katsuta score a maiden World Rally Championship podium in Kenya.

Toyota president left “shaking” after breakthrough Katsuta podium

Katsuta produced arguably the drive of his career at last weekend’s Safari Rally to finish second behind Toyota teammate and winner Sebastien Ogier, to claim his first top flight WRC podium.

Competing in his first full-time campaign with Toyota, the 28-year-old has impressed this season, and is the only driver to finish inside the top six at all six events to date.

Despite a bout of food poisoning on the recce, Katsuta led the Safari Rally on Sunday, before being overhauled by Ogier, who went on to win the event by 21.8s.

The WRC podium for Katsuta was the first scored by a Japanese driver since Kenjiro Shinozuka finished second at the 1994 Safari Rally.

Katsuta’s success prompted significant praise from the Toyota president, who has been following his compatriot’s progress closely. 

“Takamoto, it was fantastic! I’m very happy with what he has achieved,” said Toyoda. 

“He started the final day ahead of Seb, kept running for the victory and finally stood on the podium. It was so impressive that I was shaking. 

“Since this afternoon, I have been communicating with his father a lot. Both of us were so anxious and not able to do anything else. I am lucky that I was off today. 

“He has completed the rally on those very harsh roads which he has never experienced before, fighting for victory with the world’s top drivers. 

“I think, in this rally alone, he has grown up a lot more than he did before. There are six rallies left in this season, and the last one is Rally Japan. It is going to be very exciting.” 

Read Also:

Katsuta described the podium result as a special feeling before crediting his team’s physio for speeding up his recovery from food poisoning prior to the event. 

“I’m very happy and it is quite a special feeling because it has been a tough weekend,” said Katsuta.

“In the beginning of the week I had food poisoning and I have been quite sick and it was so difficult to do recce, but now we are here and everything works well and I want to say thank you to all of the team.

“On the recce day I was [ill] but our physio and the guys fixed me so in the rally I didn’t have any problems and I could 100 percent concentrate on the pace notes.

“I told myself now is not the time to fight Seb. In the future I will try to catch Seb and want to fight but I need to improve a lot.”

Seven-time WRC champion Ogier also heaped praise on his teammate following his impressive display.

“That guy [Takamoto] is very humble and he deserves a really big applause because this weekend has had such a strong performance,” Ogier added.

shares
comments

Related video

Vatanen to be reunited with WRC title-winning Ford after 40 years

Previous article

Vatanen to be reunited with WRC title-winning Ford after 40 years

Next article

Results won’t change Ogier’s mind on WRC future

Results won’t change Ogier’s mind on WRC future
Load comments
Does Neuville have a point with his WRC Rally1 rant? Prime

Does Neuville have a point with his WRC Rally1 rant?

OPINION: Thierry Neuville's diatribe against the upcoming Rally1-spec machines that will usher in the World Rally Championship's new hybrid era was remarkable in an era where drivers are usually reticent to air their views in public. But are the Belgian's concerns about speed, safety and cost entirely valid?

WRC
Sep 16, 2021
How Rovanpera reached new heights in the Greek mountains Prime

How Rovanpera reached new heights in the Greek mountains

After Kalle Rovanpera’s historic feat at Rally Estonia, the Finn scaled new heights at the Rally of the Gods with a commanding victory. And this time Toyota’s young star demonstrated why the future is bright with his devastating speed and consistency at the Acropolis Rally

WRC
Sep 13, 2021
The WRC drivers that came of age at the Acropolis Rally Prime

The WRC drivers that came of age at the Acropolis Rally

Five drivers have won first time out at the Rally Acropolis, transcending the tough dirt and gravel Greek roads to cement a place in rallying folklore. Here are three of the first-time winners' tales

WRC
Sep 9, 2021
Understanding Suninen’s sudden WRC exit gamble Prime

Understanding Suninen’s sudden WRC exit gamble

From being considered a likely contender to drive the next-generation M-Sport Ford Puma in 2022, Teemu Suninen's abrupt exit has created plenty of questions. The Finn's bid to become his country's next World Rally Championship winner won't be furthered by being sidelined, but there may be reason behind the decision

WRC
Sep 2, 2021
Could Spa’s cameo offer the WRC a new avenue to exploit? Prime

Could Spa’s cameo offer the WRC a new avenue to exploit?

OPINION: The Ypres Rally featured a cameo from the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in its final stage, giving WRC teams the chance to experience its iconic corners in rallying machinery. It proved to be an engaging addition to the rally, and could perhaps serve as an example for other events to visit famous circuits

WRC
Aug 24, 2021
Home hero Neuville delivers overdue WRC success for Hyundai in Belgium Prime

Home hero Neuville delivers overdue WRC success for Hyundai in Belgium

With limited recent fortune and pressure starting to mount, Hyundai needed a big result at the Ypres Rally. All the key components came together in Belgium to see home hero Thierry Neuville lead a manufacturer 1-2 and kickstart its World Rally Championship challenge

WRC
Aug 16, 2021
The new car that can resurrect Ford's WRC winning pedigree Prime

The new car that can resurrect Ford's WRC winning pedigree

M-Sport has become the first to unveil its new-for-2022 hybrid World Rally Championship challenger, the Puma Rally1. Ford has upped its support in a bid for glory, but can the new machine roll back the years and return the Blue Oval to the top of the WRC tree?

WRC
Aug 12, 2021
The rookie WRC driver aiming to continue Loeb and Ogier's legacies Prime

The rookie WRC driver aiming to continue Loeb and Ogier's legacies

French drivers have dominated the World Rally Championship across the past two decades; Sebastiens Loeb and Ogier have racked up the titles in commanding fashion. With Ogier calling it a day on full-time WRC competition from next year, France will pin its long-term hopes on rookie Adrien Fourmaux, who looks to have a bright future.

WRC
Aug 7, 2021