Katsuta retires after roll on Stage 5

The Japanese driver, competing in his first event as a factory pilot, had been running in fifth position having ended the morning loop by winning Stage 4, before midday service.

However, in the first test (Brattby 2) of the afternoon loop Katsuta clipped a snowbank on the exit of a left-hander, which pitched the GR Yaris into a roll, before eventually coming to rest on its wheels.

The car suffered heavy damage, losing the entire rear wing in addition to suffering damage to the front. Katsuta and co-driver Aaron Johnston were able to reach the stage end but lost 53.4s in the process.

The duo reached Stage 6 and managed to start the test although damage to the radiator forced Katsuta to pull over in the driveway of a house on the stage.

Katsuta rushed to source some water to try and repair the radiator but his efforts would come to nothing, as his day came to a premature end.

«He started really well and we were really pleased with the speed and the performance he was doing, and talking at the service there hadn’t been any big moments,» said Toyota WRC boss Jari-Matti Latvala.

«Then there was this left-hand corner and we saw Thierry Neuville almost go into the bank and Taka came in a bit too fast.

«He got sucked into the snowbank and unfortunately hit something on the front and rolled it.


«There was quite a lot of damage, the radiator was leaking and he tried to repair it and he did a good job, but unfortunately the cooling package has taken too much of an impact and he had to stop.»

Hyundai’s Craig Breen has claimed the rally lead after winning Stage 5 and Stage 6. The Irishman moved into a 10.5s advantage over M-Sport’s Ott Tanak with Hyundai’s Esapekka Lappi in third.

Toyota’s Elfyn Evans showed signs of better pace to jump teammate and world champion Kalle Rovanpera into fourth.

Two more stages await crews on Friday.

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