Katsuta and Arai learn a lot through the twists and turns of Corsica

Katsuta and Arai learn a lot through the twists and turns of Corsica

09.04.2018: TOYOTA GAZOO Racing Rally Challenge Program drivers Takamoto Katsuta and Hiroki Arai have both completed their first experience

TOYOTA GAZOO Racing Rally Challenge Program drivers Takamoto Katsuta and Hiroki Arai have both completed their first experience of the Tour de Corse, the fourth round of the FIA World Rally Championship season and one of the world’s toughest asphalt rallies.




 Both drivers went off the island’s twisting roads at one stage but were able to restart and gain valuable experience on their way to finishing eighth and ninth respectively in WRC2.
 


Corsica is known for its long and sinuous stages, with differing asphalt surfaces and variable weather conditions often adding to the challenge. This would make it a demanding event for Katsuta and Arai, who still have limited experience of asphalt rallies at this level.



Katsuta and co-driver Marko Salminen had to retire from the first leg on the opening stage after they went off into a ditch: although the car was undamaged, it was not possible for them to get back on the road. He restarted on leg two and completed every remaining stage strongly to add to his knowledge of this specialised surface.



Arai, co-driven by Glenn Macneall, sat seventh in WRC2 at the end of the opening leg, but was forced out of the second leg on Saturday’s first stage when a sudden puncture, potentially caused by sliding wide into a bank, led to an off. He too was able to restart and complete the final two stages of the rally on Sunday.






Quotes:


Takamoto Katsuta:


“A lot of things happened this weekend, so it was not so easy, but I learned a lot and gained good experience. It was disappointing to miss out on the kilometres on Friday. It was totally my mistake: I turned in too late and we slowly went into a ditch and couldn’t get out, even though there was no damage.



The team worked very hard this week to allow me to drive so I want to say thank you to them. The top times are still a long way away, but I improved my driving on this rally. I still need to work hard on my asphalt driving though. I also need to make simpler pace-notes because there was a lot of information in them here and I could not always take it all in. I will try to adjust that on the next recce.”





Hiroki Arai:


“I found that Corsica is a very, very difficult rally. However, I think I got a good feeling from the first loop on Friday and on the second loop it was getting even better and the times were not so bad. We had to retire from leg two on the very first stage: Suddenly the tyre came off the rim.



 We still managed to get to the finish and this rally has been a very good lesson. I think I could cut down on the information on the pace notes, because if I put lots of information on one corner, it’s hard to be ready for the next one. We have to think about which information is more important – not just on this rally but maybe for other fast rallies too like Finland.”




Jouni Ampuja (TOYOTA GAZOO Racing Rally Challenge Program instructor):


“We expected this rally to be very difficult and that’s how it proved. Now it’s over, hopefully it will turn out to be our most difficult rally of the year. The positive is that via Rally 2, both Takamoto and Hiroki got to the finish and gained experience. This will be really useful for the future, especially for the next time we are on asphalt.



With the long stages and some technical challenges, there was a lot for them to think about. They are still quite inexperienced on asphalt, but we can see some progress and I’m sure that the results will come.”
 





WRC2 results:



1    Jan Kopecky/Pavel Dresler (Skoda Fabia R5)    3h37m27.5s

2    Yoann Bonato/Benjamin Boulloud (Citroen C3 R5)    +1m51.2s

3    Fabio Andolfi/Simone Scattolin (Skoda Fabia R5)    +3m08.5s

4    Ole Christian Veiby/Stig Rune Skjaermoen (Skoda Fabia R5)    +3m10.3s

5    Lukasz Pieniazek/Przemyslaw Mazur (Skoda Fabia R5)    +13m05.6s

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

8    Takamoto Katsuta/Marko Salminen (Ford Fiesta R5)    +32m48.9s

9    Hiroki Arai/Glenn Macneall (Ford Fiesta R5)    +45m05.1s





What’s next?


The next outing for Katsuta and Arai will be Rali de Mortágua, a round of the Portuguese national championship on April 27-28, in preparation for their next WRC2 appearance on Rally Portugal next month.




- Stephan Lesuisse - photos Toyota

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/katsuta-arai-twits-turns-corsica---174784.html

09.04.2018 / MaP

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