European rally weekend: Katsuta's victorious debut in a Toyota Yaris WRC
Takamoto Katsuta, a member of Toyota Gazoo Racing Rally Challenge Programme, made a debut in a World Rally Car this weekend at 39th SM-Itäralli, the third round of the Finnish rally championship. The 25-year-old Japanese driver was driving the #1 Toyota Yaris WRC to a victory at Finnish snow, defeating his closest rival Emil Lindholm (VW Polo GTI R5) by just eight tenths of a second.
Katsuta was in the lead from the first special stage but a spin at SS4 cost him a lot and he dropped behind Lindholm. Katsuta entered the last stage with the 2.5sec deficit but he was then faster than Lindholm by 3.3sec and finally captured an overall victory. Finnish rally veteran and former champion Juha Salo finished in the third place, fifty seconds behind Katsuta.
On the other side of Europe, the Croatian rally championship kicks-off with the 8th Rally Kumrovec. On the gravel roads near the Croatian-Slovenian border, the fastest driver was the former Austrian champion Herman Neubauer in the #2 Ford Fiesta R5.
The Slovenian champion Rok Turk finished second in the #3 Hyundai i20 R5, in front of two Hungarians Antal Kovacs (Ford Fiesta R5) and Krisztian Hideg (Škoda Fabia R5).