Toyota driver makes his goal clear – this could decide the outcome of the entire rally

Toyota's Takamoto Katsuta aims to secure a strong result in the Rally de Portugal.
Takamoto Katsuta
Takamoto Katsuta. Photo by: Toyota GAZOO Racing WRT
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So far, Katsuta has driven a respectable season, collecting 45 championship points in previous events. With this tally, the Japanese driver currently holds sixth place in the drivers’ championship.

“I try to do my best. I don’t stress about the result,” Katsuta told in Portugal.

“I just give everything I can. It’s going to be a big challenge, especially on Friday. But if I can manage without mistakes or problems while pushing hard, then it should be a good weekend,” Katsuta added.

In Thursday’s shakedown, Katsuta was the sixth fastest. His pace looked especially strong during his second run.

“Shakedown is always just a shakedown. It’s about checking things without pushing too hard, but the time was still okay, and the car is working well. Tomorrow’s stage will be a bit different, but I’m really looking forward to the start,” Katsuta predicted.

Katsuta’s strategy is clear. On Friday’s first pass, he must go fast, but he won’t be able to maintain the same pace on the second run.

“On the first pass, you need to push to gain time compared to the other drivers. My position offers a slight advantage, but it’s more important to have a good position on Saturday and Sunday. If you get a puncture or make a mistake, you lose your position, which makes the weekend more difficult. You need to find the right balance between pushing and being cautious because being too cautious will cost too much time.”

According to Katsuta, Friday is the most significant day of the rally.

“Friday makes a huge difference for the rest of the weekend because Saturday and Sunday are very soft. Friday used to be, and still is, less soft. So the starting position makes a difference, but not a massive one compared to Saturday and Sunday,” Katsuta explained.

The Rally Portugal stages are well-known to everyone, which also plays a role.

“Let’s just say you need to take relatively big risks; otherwise, you can’t create any gaps between the drivers. This is why I need to push hard right from the very beginning,” Katsuta described.

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