The Toyota Gazoo Racing Rally Challenge Program returns for 2018, with the same line-up including young Japanese talents Takamoto Katsuta and Hiroki Arai. The promising young pair finished third and 12th respectively in their R5 cars at the famous Arctic Rally over the weekend. Hiroki Arai is again being partnered by Australian co-driver, Glenn Macneall. Arai, 24, said it’s exciting again to start another season. “It’s been really exciting to get back in the car again,” Arai said. “I tried to simplify my pace notes to help me relax more in the stage and focus on the important details. This definitely helped.”

Glenn Macneall and Hiroki Arai.

The hit problems on SS2, however, when they got stuck in a snowbanks and lost around two minutes. Playing catch-up from then on, Arai and Macneall showed great speed including a second fastest stage time on SS7. “Unfortunately, we went off on the first day and then had a technical problem in the final part of the rally, which also cost us time. “But the most important thing was that we showed good pace. In the end, I think we had more positives than negatives and it was useful preparation for Rally Sweden,” he concluded.

Takamoto Katsuta celebrates his third place finish.

The Arctic Rally, held in freezing temperatures, provided crews with harsh conditions on fast and flowing stages. 18 top R5 cars were in action on the event, with fellow Toyota Gazoo drivers Takamoto Katsuta, Jarkko Nikara and Sayaka Adachi Katsuta placed highest of the four, finishing third - two and a half minutes behind winner, Eerik Pietarinen. “I am very happy with this result, which is maybe the best performance I have ever done,” Katsuta said. https://twitter.com/rallyparadise/status/957273077511049221

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