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Japanese motor racing ace Nobuhiro ‘Monster’ Tajima, whose name is synonymous with the Silverstone Race to the Sky, will make another assault on the Cardrona Valley hillclimb at Easter (April 7 and 8) this year, in a bid to win the title for the eighth time and earn the tenth anniversary title.
Tajima currently holds the record time on the Snow Farm Road, set last year in a blistering time of 8m01.17s, smashing his previous record set in 2003 by nine seconds.
Following last year’s win at the Race to the Sky he competed at Pikes Peak in Colorado, winning the overall title in spite of dense cloud and freak weather conditions, which caused organisers to shorten the course.
Suzuki Sport spokesman Haruyuki Mayama says Tajima’s Suzuki Grand Vitara Hillclimb Special has undergone extensive modification, with significant fine-tuning from the ‘suspension to the engine’ ready for the Race to the Sky and Pike’s Peak this year.
He says specially designed tyres have been fitted to the vehicle which will add to the overall performance.
“The result of this extensive preparation and tyre combination will be brute horsepower, reliability and supreme handling, ensuring that Tajima and the Suzuki Grand Vitara are able to achieve incredibly fast times and a new course record,” Mayama said.
Crowd favourite, Swedish World Rally Championship driver Kenneth Eriksson, is returning again this year in the former Possum Bourne Subaru Impreza World Rally Car to compete for the fourth time.
Last year he was the fastest car in practice and the rally shoot-out on the flats, but in the final run for the Race to the Sky championship he had to withdraw after engine troubles prevented him getting to the top of the hill.
Car owner Craig Vincent says they haven’t made any significant changes to the car this year.
“However we have tried to get rid of the little problems with the transmission and we have worked on some cooling issues which have haunted us,” Vincent said.
Vincent says it’s the last time they will compete at the Race to the Sky and the goal is to go under 8m10sec.
“That’s our target and we think it’s achievable. What we really want for this final time is to see Kenneth have a 100% go at the hill from bottom to top in a competitive time. It is important for the sake of everyone who has put so much work into it.”
Vincent says realistically Tajima will be hard to beat on the day. “But for us it is all abut finishing and if possible, making that sub 8m10sec mark.”
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