Why Katsuta has high hopes for incredible Arctic Rally

The World Rally Championship’s visit to Arctic Rally Finland at the end of February has got rally fans excited across the globe. There is no doubt we are in for a proper winter event around Rovaniemi’s special snow-topped stages.

Perhaps the only thing more unique than Arctic Rally conditions is the circumstances surrounding Toyota driver Takamoto Katsuta.

It is hard to get your head around a Japanese driver feeling most at home on Finland’s notoriously demanding high-speed stages. Well, Katsuta is.

The 27-year-old currently lives in Jyvaskyla and is hoping he can show his best WRC pace to-date on Arctic Rally Finland’s WRC debut.

“I started rallying five years ago in Finland,” explained Katsuta. “I am Japanese, but I didn’t rally so much in Japan before I started rallying [in Europe].

“So basically I learned almost everything, let’s say 90% of what I learned came by Finnish roads.

“I also learned a lot of things from Finnish drivers, and that’s why I’m very familiar with high-speed stages like in Finland and also the snow stages.

“So I’m ready for a winter rally with lots of snow and big snowbanks.

“I’m excited to set good times on the stages, but at the same time at this level of the World Rally Championship, everybody is very fast, of course.

“It is always very tight between them so it’s never easy.

“But I’m hoping I can set some very good times at some point.”

Photos and videos from previous Arctic Lapland Rallies, as well as footage from Rovaniemi based tests, show just how special the next round of the WRC will be.

Those fortunate enough to attend the event are certainly in for an unforgettable experience.

“Yeah, for sure, I mean the North of Finland is very beautiful,” continued Katsuta.

“It’s like an incredible place and the temperature for example was minus thirty on Tuesday.”

“Let’s say we were normally doing Sweden as the winter rally but this time it is much, much colder with even more snow and ice.

“So it is going to be a very good rally for the drivers and for the photographers.

“In the future, if they continue and there can be spectators, it’s going to be very, very beautiful.”

Arctic Rally Finland gets underway on 26 February with 10 stages split across the three-day event.

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Photos courtesy of Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT

Adam Hall

Brought up in the Irish countryside, Adam was never far away from the world of rallying. From following local events like the Circuit of Ireland and the Ulster Rally, Adam now puts the stories from stages all around the world into words through his website Rally Insight.

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