,

Yuki Yamamoto gradually climbs the World Rally Ranking

yuki yamamoto

Yamamoto’s first season at the helm of a Rally2 car has shown a clear upward trajectory. His first national rally in Toyota’s Rally2 car ended in ninth place in Rovaniemi this February. At the Rally Sweden, Yamamoto finished tenth in the WRC2 class.

Takamoto Katsuta emerged from the first phase to the top, having already climbed the podium four times in the premier class. Remaining from the second phase are 27-year-old Yuki Yamamoto and his five-year-younger compatriot, Hikaru Kogure. Yamamoto’s first season at the helm of a Rally2 car has shown a clear upward trajectory. His first national rally in Toyota’s Rally2 car ended in ninth place in Rovaniemi this February. At the Rally Sweden, Yamamoto finished tenth in the WRC2 class.

At the Tuuri Rally a week ago, Yamamoto once again demonstrated improvement, securing an impressive fourth place. “It went better than I expected. The start on Friday was good, but I could have driven better in the morning. I also made a mistake on the sixth stage. That was a pity, but otherwise, the race was quite good. I felt better in the car than at the Rally Sweden and the Arctic Rally,” Yamamoto told RallyJournal.com.

“My confidence has improved as I’ve gained more experience with the Rally2 car. This was only my third rally with this car. But I feel increasingly better in it. I think I’m now more in tune with the new car, even though there’s still a lot to improve.” Yamamoto feels that now they can start to refine smaller details in driving.

“In this rally, both speed and driving were clearly better than before. Now I can start focusing on smaller details, like the pace notes and minor driving aspects. It’s easier when you can narrow down the areas that need improvement,” the Japanese driver pondered.

Experienced Marko Salminen sits alongside Yamamoto. Their cooperation has kicked off seamlessly. “It’s going very well with Marko. He helps a lot. He’s a fun guy but also serious when needed. I have a good cooperation with him and the team,” Yamamoto shared.

The first season in a Rally2 car is naturally about learning, but next year more significant results are expected from Yamamoto. A third generation of Japanese drivers in Toyota’s WRC team is already in training, having started their driving education at the beginning of this year.

“The next race is Rally Croatia. It’s not purely an tarmac rally; there are also gravel sections and everything else. However, we have recce teams this year, which is new but definitely a good thing,” Yamomoto said. “This season is about learning in the Rally2 car. Additionally, many rallies are new to me. I’ll try to learn and be ready for next year to compete at the front.”