Ko­valainen suf­fers car woe on Shin­shiro

Motor Sport News - - Rally News -

Juho Han­ni­nen and Heikki Ko­valainen were the high­est pro­file driv­ers at last week­end’s Shin­shiro Rally in Ja­pan.

Toy­ota Ga­zoo Rac­ing driver Han­ni­nen was present in Ja­pan to drive the Yaris WRC on demon­stra­tion runs, while for­mer For­mula 1 driver Ko­valainen was com­pet­ing in a Toy­ota GT86.

Ko­valainen’s event went awry when his car suf­fered gear­box prob­lems. The Su­per GT driver said on so­cial me­dia: “Gear­box went on the third stage and we had to re­tire for the day. Lost fourth gear first then sub­se­quently all the oth­ers. Felt good but the times weren’t good on the first two stages, bit puz­zled there. Any­way, it’s so much fun to be driv­ing a rally car for a change.”

Han­ni­nen’s pres­ence came as no sur­prise given Toy­ota’s sup­port for the event and Ja­pan’s po­ten­tial re­turn to the world cham­pi­onship.

While over­shad­owed by the pres­ence of WRC of­fi­cials, the Shin­shiro Rally was also the fi­nal round of the Ja­panese Rally Cham­pi­onship and the event was won by lo­cal hero and for­mer Subaru fac­tory driver Toshi Arai in an Im­preza WRX.

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