TOKYO, June 28, 2019 - TOYOTA GAZOO Racing is accelerating the 2019 activities of the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing Rally Challenge Program, which supports young drivers competing in the tough global arena of rallying.
As the 2019 season reaches the half-way mark, Takamoto Katsuta has so far competed on seven rounds in the WRC2 class of the FIA World Rally Championship with an R5 car, claiming one victory, on Rally Chile. In addition, he scored two wins from two starts in the Finnish championship with the Yaris WRC, and has been steadily improving himself.
Considering Katsuta's growth in the first half of this season, the planned activity for the second half of the season has been revised. He will join the top category with a Yaris WRC in round 10, Rally Germany, and round 13, Rally Spain, with the goal of continuing his growth as a WRC driver. Contesting these two WRC events in the top class as part of his training, Takamoto Katsuta is contributing towards the final aim of Toyota in its challenge to develop a Japanese WRC driver.
Tommi Makinen (Program Supervisor)
Takamoto has made some big steps already this year. In his WRC2 program, he has shown very good progress with his driving and his consistency. He also handled his first rallies in the Yaris WRC in the Finnish championship very well. Because of this, we are sure that he is ready to make the next step up already. We waited to finalise his programme for the end of the season, to see how he was progressing, and it is great that we can already add these two events in a World Rally Car in the world championship. We know that these will be very challenging rallies--Takamoto has no experience of competing in Germany, and Spain is tough as it's a mixed-surface event. So we are not setting any targets in terms of results: the main priority will be for him to continue learning and to develop his driving.
First of all, I would like to thank everyone who has supported me. Since I switched to rallying four years ago, I have worked hard to be world rally champion in the future. There have been many good moments, but also frustrating ones. Now, I can take a big step forward with support from many people around me.
However, I have not yet reached my end goal: I'm just standing on the start line. I am gaining valuable experience step-by-step in the Yaris WRC. I will develop myself consistently, rally-by-rally, to fight in the top category in the near future. I still have so much to do to make my dream come true, but I am sure I can make it. Thank you in advance for your strong support.
About Toyota Motor Corporation
Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) is the global mobility company that introduced the Prius hybrid-electric car in 1997 and the first mass-produced fuel cell sedan, Mirai, in 2014. Headquartered in Toyota City, Japan, Toyota has been making cars since 1937. Today, Toyota proudly employs 370,000 employees in communities around the world. Together, they build around 10 million vehicles per year in 29 countries, from mainstream cars and premium vehicles to mini-vehicles and commercial trucks, and sell them in more than 170 countries under the brands Toyota, Lexus, Daihatsu and Hino. For more information, please visitwww.toyota-global.com.