Sumiyama marked dramatic victory at maiden event of JSR


The first ever event of international rally series, which is consisted by three round within Japan, Japan Super Rally Series (JSR), Rally of Tsumagoi finished on 5th February with final seven stages. Yuya Sumiyama/Takahiro Yasui in Toyota Vitz 4WD who started the day in 2nd place passed former leader Mitsuyoshi Kuroiwa/Takumi Takahashi (Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX) which brought the crew historical first ever victory in this series. The final spot of podium was gained by Yasushi Aoyama/Atsushi Funaki (Subaru WRX STI).

On the final day of the event, weather forecast reported some chance of snow or rain, which remained possibility to change the condition radically. On the opening stage of the day, SS14, Sumiyama set fastest time with massive 10seconds gap. Rally leader Kuroiwa who said “It would be tough for me if the condition would be icy. “, and was enable to set only third fastest time, which allowed Sumiyama to move to leader. On same stage, Masanobu Chigira/Yuichi Matsumoto(Subaru WRX STI) was off the course and stopped on the stage. With result of his unfortunate, Aoyama moved to third position.

While snow started to fall, Sumiyama continued to set the fastest time on SS15 and SS16 as well, and extended the gap to Kuroiwa to 17.1 by end of morning section.

Although snow was still falling heavily, Sumiyama controlled the gap well. He set another fastest time on the final stage and brought his Vitz 4WD first victory. Kuroiwa who showed close battle for top with Sumiyama through the event secured second place followed by Aoyama and Chigira in third and fourth respectively.

Yuya Sumiyama : 1st in JSR
” I’m released with this victory. I’ve never drive this machine on such a high-speed stage like Panorama on first day, still I was able to battle for the top. However, in better weather on second day, my speed was not able to match with Kuroiwa-san, so I thought that high-speed section on SS14 would be key and I pushed hard on that stage. I managed to 10 seconds gap to him only on this stage and I think it was big advantage for rest of rally. I’m so delighted to make victory with this Vitz 4WD. On this event, I got plenty of mileage with no damage, so next step is finding better setting to bring more speed.”

Mitsuyoshi Kuroiwa : 2nd in JSR
“I was enjoying this rally much. As I retired last year, I’m happy with complete all stages. If the weather stayed good like yesterday, I may had chance for win, but it didn’t happen. Still I’m 120% satisfied with this result.”

Yasushi Aoyama : 3rd in JSR
” I was able to keep my position somehow. From my experience, I thought that if I set good time in Panorama and Aisainooka, I would have chance. As I set good shape in first two days, that’s why I was able to have good battle on final day.”

Tetsuya Gonda : 9th in JSR
“I’m released as I complete the rally. As this is my first time to compete winter rally, and I was not able to have enough test previously, I was quite nerves. My plan in this year is enter all rounds of JSR. We don’t have much rival in 2WD category, but I try my best.”

Cooperation : RALLYPLUS.NET