Development driver update:
Manufacturer-backed quartet in action
A quartet of up-and-coming rally drivers backed by WRC manufacturers were in action last weekend, taking further steps towards a possible future in the world championship.
Japanese Toyota Gazoo Rally Challenge drivers Takamoto Katsuta and Hiroki Arai, along with navigator Sayaka Adachi tackled the penultimate round of the Finnish Rally Championship: the Oili Jalonen Ralli.
Adachi co-drove Jarkko Nikara to second overall in a Subaru Impreza, Arai got his Ford Fiesta R5 to the podium in third while Katsuta [below] was fifth, after a gearbox problem in a similar car.
Katsuta and Arai will make their next WRC appearance at RallyRACC Catalunya - Rally de España from 5-8 October: the only mixed surface event in the series. Before then, they will compete in a small Spanish national rally two weeks earlier, Rally Ourense-Ribeira Sacra, to get a feel for the expected conditions.
Last seen in the WRC at August's ADAC Rallye Deutschland, Hyundai Motorsport’s driver development program crew Chewon Lim and Martijn Wydaeghe [main pictures] experienced highs and lows at the Rally Nova Gorica in Slovenia.
They were on course for a podium finish until their i20 R5 drifted wide in the penultimate stage partly due to a compromised mix of wet and dry weather tyres following a puncture. The car fell into a ditch, putting a distraught Lim out of the event.
"It’s really frustrating to have lost a chance of a podium," Lim explained. "We had the corner marked as OK to be nearly flat out after the first run, but with the different tyres we didn’t have the grip and there was no space to recover once we were too wide. Overall though, it was a great feeling to be fighting at the front with the opportunity for a strong result.”
In pictures: Mikkelsen tries the i20 for size
Norwegian and his co-driver visit team HQ
Local hero Lefebvre wins at home
Frenchman triumphs near his hometown