Jari-Matti Latvala’s simple tip for Toyota driver

Toyota's Takamoto Katsuta has been in the mix for rally victories this year, but a couple of good results have slipped away due to mistakes.
Jari-Matti Latvala and Takamoto Katsuta
Jari-Matti Latvala and Takamoto Katsuta. Photo: Toyota GAZOO Racing WRT
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In February’s Rally Sweden, Katsuta was battling Hyundai’s Esapekka Lappi for the lead. However, on Saturday’s second stage, Katsuta found himself in a snowbank, shattering his dreams of a maiden victory.

Katsuta was also in the lead at last weekend’s Rally de Portugal. Unfortunately, his rally went awry on Saturday when he broke his car’s suspension on the longest stage of the competition, forcing him to retire.

Toyota team principal Jari-Matti Latvala has closely observed Katsuta’s promising performances.

“I think what we see in Taka is clearly that on the Friday he is able to be in the lead. I think with that step he has shown he has the potential. He is capable of driving against the other drivers,” Latvala said, according to Dirtfish.

According to Latvala, the next leap forward must come in the mental aspect. In other words, Katsuta needs to maintain composure throughout the entire weekend.

“I think it’s not about the skills – Taka has the skills. It goes more to the mental side because the situation that when you think where you are, the pressure you put more on yourself on the next day of the rally.”

“If you know that you are in third position and you can win it, it’s the pressure that you start to take to yourself,” Latvala explained with the depth of experience.

Latvala has a simple tip for the Japanese driver, who is striving for his first career victory in the WRC: he must remain relaxed throughout the weekend.

“If we can maintain that relaxed feeling that he has on Friday that is the target and then probably we can bring it to the end of the Saturday. And then you have the third step on Sunday,” Latvala said.

Katsuta will have another chance to chase success in the upcoming Rally Sardinia in two weeks.

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