Is Takamoto Katsuta Ready For A Larger Role?

September 20, 2023Joe Moore

Takamoto Katsuta has been in the WRC for nearly 4 seasons, is he ready for a larger role with Toyota?

Proving Himself

Takamoto Katsuta has competed in Rally’s top class since the start of the 2020 season. Katsuta has made slow but steady progress with Toyota. Having 4 podiums under his belt so far. With his highest finish being 2nd at Safari Rally Kenya in 2021. Katsuta has been consistent so far in a WRC1/Rally1 car. However, he’s finishing consistently at 5th or lower. Unless somebody has an issue that is. The biggest question is, does Toyota think he’s ready to step into a larger role with the team? As Katsuta has been the teams third full-time driver since 2020. However, Katsuta has only scored Manufacturers’ points at select events. With Sebastien Ogier being the other part-time Manufacturer points scorer for Toyota. 

Why He Needs More Time 

Katsuta is a talented driver, who is slowly improving. However, for a team like Toyota, he may not be ready to step into a full-time manufacturer scoring role. Although even if he did take that next step he likely wouldn’t score many manufacturers points. As Kalle Rovanperä and Elfyn Evans rarely make mistakes. The biggest thing Katsuta needs to improve on is finishing fifth or higher at each event. Finishing sixth isn’t terrible but for a team like Toyota, it’s not favorable. Consistency is key and finishing at or around fifth isn’t bad considering everyone else who’s in the championship. However, at most events, 6th is second last in class. As most of the time, there are only 7 or 8 Rally1 cars at an event. If Katsuta can find a way to consistently finish top five, even if nobody has an issue, he’ll be a good fit for a full-time role with the team. 

Depends On A Different Thing 

If Katsuta steps into a larger role next season is up to not just Toyota, but 8-time World Rally Champion Sebastien Ogier. There were rumours circulating that Ogier may leave the team at the end of the season for Hyundai. However, that doesn’t look like it’ll be the case. As for Ogier, he’s in a perfect situation. He’s in a car that can win relatively easily. Ogier has also proven he can still win events. He’s won the most events this season, and would likely lead the championship if he was doing a full campaign.