The TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WRC Challenge Program will resume when the 2020 FIA World Rally Championship season restarts at Rally Estonia on September 4-6, with up-and-coming Japanese driver Takamoto Katsuta to participate behind the wheel of a Toyota Yaris WRC.
Through the WRC Challenge Program, which aims to develop Japanese rallying talent, Katsuta is training towards the goal of becoming a TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team driver. Earlier in 2020, he took part in Rallye Monte-Carlo and Rally Sweden in the Yaris WRC, before his campaign was interrupted by the restrictions around COVID-19 and subsequent changes to the WRC calendar.
Following the confirmation of a revised 2020 WRC schedule, Katsuta will now compete in Rally Estonia―a new addition to the championship―as well as contesting Rallye Deutschland, Rally Italia Sardegna and his home event Rally Japan as originally planned. As before, Katsuta's goal through these four events will be to gain crucial experience and demonstrate progress against the best rally drivers in the world.
Tommi Mäkinen (TOYOTA GAZOO Racing Rally Challenge Program supervisor)
"We are very much looking forward to resuming the 2020 season soon and I am very happy that we will have Takamoto with us for Rally Estonia. It is a rally that should suit his experience and his strengths. At the same time, it will be his first WRC event for many months, so we do not expect it to be easy. We will provide him with some time in the Toyota Yaris WRC before then to help him to get back up to speed, which will be important for such a fast rally."
"I am glad that the WRC will finally restart from September. I will participate in Rally Estonia which is a new event on our schedule, and I am grateful for this opportunity. During this period without any rallies I am concentrating on my physical training and on e-Sports to make sure I am in the best condition for returning to competition. Thank you to everyone for your continued support."
2020 New schedule
|23-26 January||Rallye Monte-Carlo|
|13-16 February||Rally Sweden|
|4-6 September||Rally Estonia|
|15-18 October||Rallye Deutschland|
|29 October-1 November||Rally Italia Sardegna|
|19-22 November||Rally Japan|
Born in Aichi, Japan on March 17, 1993. Katsuta drove in his first kart race at the age of 12 and at age 18 he won the Formula Challenge Japan (FCJ). He placed second in the F3 series at age 20, and since 2014 he has competed in F3 in addition to notching his first JN5 class win in the eighth round of the Japanese Rally Championship. In the seventh round of the 2017 FIA World Rally Championship (Italy), he took his first podium by finishing third in the WRC2 class. In 2018 he won Rally Sweden, the second round of World Rally Championship in the WRC2 class. In 2019 he won WRC2 on Rally Chile, and he claimed two wins in the Finnish Rally Championship before starting his first WRC events in a Toyota Yaris WRC in Germany and Spain.