Setup changes inspire Katsuta to recharge

The Toyota Gazoo Racing Next Generation driver struggled to familiarize himself with the GR Yaris on opening day and spent time in a snowdrift on Stage 4.

A series of set-up changes improved the car’s balance, boosted Katsuta’s confidence and allowed him to fight his way back up the leaderboard to a fourth top-four finish from his last 10 FIA World Rally encounters to achieve championship.

“We made a lot of changes to the car on Friday,” said Katsuta. “Then I was very happy with the car and felt like I could push harder. But it wasn’t just the car either, I worked with the team and changed my head, my brain, my way of driving – that helped too.”

Video: Rally Sweden on board – Katsuta

Sixth place at the end of day one improved two places over the next two days.

“I’m happy with how the rally went and I’m happy to be doing a good job for the team,” added Katsuta. “But not only the result is important.

“During this rally there were a few moments where I pushed quite a bit and was able to set competitive times with the drivers at the front. I’ve learned a lot for the car this weekend, I understand more about how to carry the speed through the corners and how that characteristic of the Yaris Rally1 works.”

Katsuta’s instructor, Juho Hänninen, was similarly encouraged by his rider’s efforts in Umeå.

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“I think it was a pretty positive rally for Taka,” said Hänninen. “He made a small mistake on Friday, but it didn’t really affect his overall position in the end.

“On Saturday morning, after making a small set-up change to the car, he was immediately much more confident. On Saturday and Sunday he was really consistent with good stage times and he ended the weekend with a good ride and a good time on the Power Stage.

“I am very satisfied with that. After [eighth place in] Monte-Carlo, I’m sure this strong result in the new car will boost Taka’s confidence for the move to Croatia.”

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