The Japanese star survived a sustained charge by Hyundai Motorsport’s Teemu Suninen on the final day of the gravel fixture to secure third place by 4.3 seconds alongside Aaron Johnston.   

It was Katsuta’s first piece of silverware of the season, and it came in front of his family and Toyota chairman Akio Toyoda, who was performing Team Principal duties as regular boss Jari-Matti Latvala made a one-off return to the sport’s top-flight.   

Prior to Finland – the European base of Toyota Gazoo Racing – the season had been a difficult one for Katsuta, with seventh place the best he could manage at July’s Rally Estonia where the roads are similar in nature to Finland’s.   

With there being high expectations to perform on his return to the final points-scoring GR Yaris Rally1 in place of Sebastien Ogier for Finland, Katsuta decided to take matters into his own hands.   

As part of his pre-event test, he called on the services of defending World Rally Champion Rovanpera to help him understand how to get the best out of the GR Yaris Rally1.   

“As you know, in Estonia, I had a very bad rally there,” explained Katsuta. “I had no speed at all. Then, after that, the team was analysing very much and giving me a lot of things to improve, and we did really hard work to improve for that.   

“At the same time, I was in with Kalle for the test. I was in the car, Kalle was driving and I was sitting next to him. He was showing me how to drive and giving me a lot of tips, and this was helping me a lot to understand more how to really drive.   

“After Estonia, I was almost losing my confidence and everything, so a huge thanks to Kalle but also all the engineers who were analysing where I was losing time in Estonia. Of course, the road is different, but it’s a high-speed rally and it’s very important to analyse what you are doing wrong, and these things helped me.”   

Toyota revealed that even after Rovanpera crashed out of the lead of his home event on the opening day, he remained on site to share nuggets of information to help Katsuta’s push for a top-three result.   

“After his rally finished, Kalle was giving lots of advice to Takamoto. This shows we are a real ‘one team’,” said the Chairman of Toyota Motor Corporation. “Finally, I was able to achieve the podium together with Takamoto which I have long waited for. Congratulations, Taka.”