Adachi takes another strong finish on the SM Vaakuna-Ralli
Following their first event together on the Arctic Lapland Rally in January, Sayaka was once again sitting alongside Finnish driver Jarkko Nikara in a Subaru Impreza WRX. The SM Vaakuna-Ralli was based in Mikkeli in the south east of Finland, and provided the crews with more challenging snow and ice-covered roads.
The rally began with two stages in darkness on Friday night, with Sayaka and Jarkko overcoming the tough conditions to lie second overall, only 12 seconds behind the leader. At the end of stage three on the following morning however they suffered a broken front differential, which forced them to drive the next stage – the longest of the rally at 27.6 kilometres – with only rear-wheel drive.
This cost the pair over a minute and relegated them to eighth in the standings, but they produced a great recovery over the remaining five stages to climb back to fourth place overall in the Finnish Rally Championship, therefore repeating their result from the Arctic Lapland Rally.
Sayaka Adachi: “It was a difficult rally, starting with the recce which started in the dark and was done to a really tight schedule. But with Jarkko we were able to find our way during the rally. It was difficult for me to find the rhythm and get the timing right in the twisty stages, but I am still learning and I need to keep practicing. I’m looking forward to the next rally!”
Jarkko Nikara: “The rally was quite good. We were unlucky with the driveshaft problem and we lost a lot of time with that, plus the car was quite difficult to drive after we changed it in service. The rally was much more difficult than the Arctic Lapland Rally, much more challenging, with turns over crests and just a lot more happening. Also on the recce we could only pass each stage twice, whereas on the Arctic we did some stages four or even five times. With Sayaka there are some things we need to improve, like the timing of the pacenote reading, but there were no big dramas. We are working together quite well and it’s getting better all the time.”
Jouni Ampuja (TOYOTA GAZOO Racing Rally Challenge Program instructor): “The rally had some very tricky roads, and it was especially tough for Sayaka as co-driver because they only had the chance only to recce the stages twice. But they did well. Everything went as planned aside from the broken differential, from which they fought back really well to get fourth place. Most of the stages went well with the pacenotes and pacenote reading but naturally there were some hard moments as the rhythm is really important on these roads and sometimes the timing was not quite right. But it was nice to see that they were able to do a proper rally and be competitive. We are all pleased with the job they did.”
|1||Kalle Rovanpera/Risto Pietilainen (Skoda Fabia R5)||1:06:08.7|
|2||Teemu Asunmaa/Jonne Halttunen (Skoda Fabia R5)||1:06:19.4|
|3||Juha Salo/Jarno Ottman (Peugeot 208 T16 R5)||1:07:12.6|
|4||Jarkko Nikara/Sayaka Adachi (Subaru Impreza WRX)||1:08:04.2|
|5||Ari Vihavainen/Jari Vainikka (Mitsubishi Lancer WRC2)||1:08:38.3|
Sakaya and Jarkko will return to action on the next round of the Finnish Rally Championship, the TAHKO SM-Ralli, on March 10-11. Based further to the north in Nilsiä, this rally is set to provide another testing event on ice and snow.