A classic event on the FIA World Rally Championship, Rally GB has a reputation for difficult and changeable weather conditions. This year was no different, with heavy rain making the fast gravel stages muddy and slippery, although exact grip levels often varied from corner to corner. While this was Katsuta's first time on Rally GB, he could count on the experience of British co-driver Daniel Barritt, who won his home event outright just two years ago. After his outing in the Toyota Yaris WRC in Germany, Katsuta returned to a Ford Fiesta R5 to gain experience of this event, and was able to compare himself against a strong field in the RC2 category.
Katsuta built his speed throughout the event, avoiding any major incidents to complete every stage and gain as much experience as possible of the varied conditions. His approach ultimately brought him to sixth place among the R5 cars in 14th overall.
“It was a very tough weekend for me on my first time on this rally. Everything was new, and I needed to find a good driving style for the conditions. The days were very long and it was hard to keep concentration. So it was not easy but I enjoyed it a lot, as you have to drive quite sideways in the muddy conditions, which is something new for me. It’s a big positive that we finished the rally and got the full experience, this was our only target. We learned a lot, and if I come here next year, I will know more about what to expect.”
Jarkko Miettinen (TOYOTA GAZOO Racing Rally Challenge Program instructor):
“We came to Rally GB to learn the special characteristics of this difficult rally for the future. The aim was to finish the rally with good speed and to avoid big risks. Taka and Dan did a good and consistent job through the weekend and 100 per cent followed the agreed strategy. I believe this rally had the highest level in the R5 class ever, so to finish in sixth place was good result.”
1 Kalle Rovanperä/Jonne Halttunen (Skoda Fabia R5 Evo) 3h11m49.1s
2 Petter Solberg/Phil Mills (Volkswagen Polo GTI R5) +45.0s
3 Tom Cave/Dale Furniss (Hyundai i20 R5) +59.7s
4 Pierre-Louis Loubet/Vincent Landais (Skoda Fabia R5 Evo) +1m03.8s
5 Nikolay Gryazin/Yaroslav Fedorov (Skoda Fabia R5 Evo) +1m08.9s
6 Takamoto Katsuta/Daniel Barritt (Ford Fiesta R5 MkII) +3m21.5s ...
Katsuta will return to the wheel of a Toyota Yaris WRC on the next round, Rally de España on October 25-27. It’s the only WRC round run on both gravel and asphalt. After one day on gravel, teams are required to transfer the cars from gravel to asphalt specification within a 75-minute service. The asphalt stages that follow are smooth, fast and flowing, similar to racing circuits in their characteristics.