Toyota’s Japanese driver in surprise lead in WRC event – “No it’s not at the limit”

Toyota’s Takamoto Katsuta delivered on his promise before the Rally de Portugal.
Takamoto Katsuta.
Takamoto Katsuta. Photo by Toyota GAZOO Racing WRT
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Katsuta is not competing for team points in Portugal, allowing the Japanese driver to approach the event without pressure. He mentioned before the rally that now is the time to deliver results. The beginning of the competition has certainly gone well, as Katsuta leads the rally after five special stages.

However, the margins are slim, with Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville only 2.9 seconds behind Katsuta. The entire top six is within just over nine seconds.

“No, it’s not at the limit. I am struggling a bit with the car. I mean, I’m not really happy with how the car is behaving at the moment, but I’m trying to push hard,” Katsuta said.

“Even if something isn’t quite right, I just go flat out and push, so it works well. But if we manage to find a good setup, we’ll be much better.”

In addition to Katsuta, all other Toyota drivers have been struggling with their cars. Katsuta feels that a sensible approach is needed in the afternoon if he is to maintain his lead.

“Some of the setups need to change for the tougher conditions in the afternoon. Mainly, I need to change my mindset,” Katsuta admitted.

“There’s no reason to do crazy things because in the morning, I was making mistakes myself, and it wasn’t a smart way to push. I need to find a balance very, very quickly.”

There are four more special stages on Friday afternoon in the Rally de Portugal. The event concludes on Sunday.

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