Kovalainen suffers car woe on Shinshiro
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.