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Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Katsuta welcomes new WRC co-driver as injured Barritt continues restoration

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Barritt was suggested by medical doctors to withdraw from final month’s Rally Estonia following 4 phases after sustaining neck and again ache, that necessitated a visit to hospital for precautionary checks.

Whereas Toyota confirmed the Briton was okay following his hospital go to in Estonia, Barritt is a notable omission on the entry listing for Rally Ypres maiden WRC occasion from 13-15 August.

In Barritt’s place is 26-year-old Keaton Williams, who has already labored with Katsuta in check outings in Portugal and Estonia earlier this yr.

Williams has been co-driver for Eire’s Hyundai Junior driver Josh McErlean, who has been competing in WRC3 and the European Rally Championship this yr.

Katsuta has confirmed Barritt’s situation is bettering each day however he gained’t be prepared for the championship’s go to to Ypres’ quick tarmac roads. 

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“We decided that Ypres is just too quickly and it’s not sufficient time for put together the physique and issues and naturally after Estonia he [Daniel] felt somewhat little bit of ache and tiredness from the neck,” mentioned Katsuta. 

“Now he’s high quality and it’s getting higher and higher day by day.

“I’ll go to Ypres with Keaton Williams, who has been testing with me 3 times this yr so I do know him fairly effectively. 

“After all it’ll be an enormous problem for each of us as that is his first time ever at this degree.”

Takamoto Katsuta, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT

Picture by: McKlein / Motorsport Images

Rally Ypres would be the first time Katsuta will contest a rally within the WRC’s high flight with out Barritt alongside him.

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The duo have proved to be one of many shock packages of the season turning into the one crew previous to Estonia to complete each rally inside the highest six.

Williams’ shock promotion is the newest co-driver change within the WRC this season, after Thierry Neuville parted methods along with his long-time navigator Nicolas Gilsoul earlier than the beginning of the marketing campaign.

Final month Hyundai team-mate Dani Sordo introduced a second co-driving change of the yr, with Candido Carrera taking up from Borja Rozada after solely three occasions.

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