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TOYOTA GAZOO Racing challenge program expands Sayaka Adachi to co-drive in Finnish Rally Championship

January 12, 2017

Japanese co-driver Sayaka Adachi will contest the Finnish Rally Championship as a part of the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing Rally Challenge Program.

TOYOTA GAZOO Racing Rally Challenge Program was established to support young Japanese rallying talents to be global level drivers. With cooperation with Tommi Makinen Racing, the program has been helping two drivers develop themselves.

Adachi started her rally career in 2002 and she is a four-time Japanese Rally Champion. She has also co-driven Takamoto Katsuta, on a handful of events in 2015 and 2016. In addition, Adachi has been involved in various activities in Japan to boost interest in the sport, and now she is eager to grow up as a co-driver to higher level.

For her introduction to international competition, Adachi is teaming up with leading Finnish driver Jarkko Nikara for a campaign in Finland’s national championship which they will contest in an SM1-class Subaru Impreza. Nikara has enjoyed considerable success during his career and his natural speed will help Adachi’s progression.

“My goal in co-driving is to reach the WRC at some point,” Adachi said. “So I need to learn a new way of writing and reading pacenotes, and also get used to the high speeds I will experience competing on rallies in Finland.”

Nikara is motivated to be part of Adachi’s training program. “I’m excited about co-operation with Adachi and am looking forward to it. It is also a challenge for me to drive with a new co-driver. We have been driving together a couple of times now in a road car making pacenotes to get to know each other and how we both work. We will be driving a rally car together for the first time at the end of this week. I’m very pleased to be part of this.”

TOYOTA GAZOO Racing Rally Challenge Program instructor Jouni Ampuja said: “Sayaka and Jarkko will be contesting the full Finnish Rally Championship together this year. The first event, the Arctic Lapland Rally, is challenging and the longest rally of the series in hard winter conditions, so it’s not going to be easy. Sayaka will learn all about the new type of pacenotes and the procedures co-drivers must follow, which in Finland are pretty much the same as they are at international level.”

The TOYOTA GAZOO Racing Rally Challenge Program’s drivers, Takamoto Katsuta and Hiroki Arai, have been part of the scheme since 2015 and will undertake a full season of national and international rallies this year. The Arctic Lapland Rally is the opening event of the seven-round Finnish championship, which concludes in Tampere at the end of September. Based in Rovaniemi in the Arctic Circle, the Arctic Lapland Rally runs from 26-28 January.

2017 schedule

January 27/28 – Arctic Lapland Rally (Rovaniemi, gravel / snow)
February 17/18 – SM Vaakuna-Ralli (Mikkeli, gravel / snow)
March 10/11 – TahkoRalli (Nilsiä, gravel / snow)
May 19/20 – Riihimäki-ralli (Riihimäki, gravel)
June 9/10 – SM O.K. Auto-ralli (Kouvola, gravel)
September 8/9 – Uusikaupunki-Ralli (Uusikaupunki, gravel)
September 29/30 – Lake City Rally  (Tampere, gravel)

Nikara drove his first rally 2004 and won the Finnish Junior Rally Championship –title in 2006. He was chosen as the European Pirelli Star Driver in 2008 and he drove 6 WRC-rallies in 2009. His history with Tommi Mäkinen Racing dates back 2012 when he drove 4 IRC-rallies with the team. Since then he has been cooperating with Tommi Mäkinen including the test driving of Yaris WRC during last year.





Adachi won in Japanese Rally Championship four-years in a row from 2010. She participated in two FRC rallies in 2015. She moved from Japan to Finland for promoting TGR WRC, the challenge program and through the own rally to Japan in 2016.


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