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PWRC: Japan - Pre-event press conference.

Drivers: Toshi Arai (Subaru) and Fumio Nutahara (Mitsubishi).



Press conference.


Q:
Nutahara san, you have a new co-driver for this event as your regular co-driver Daniel Barritt is ill and will be replaced by Hakaru Ichino who is the reigning African Championship co-driver. How tough will it be without Daniel this weekend?

Fumio Nutahara:
Daniel contacted me at the end of last week to say he could not come. He wasn't feeling well at that time and I was worried because it looked like he had food poisoning with salmonella. The doctor stopped him from leaving the hospital. In a hurry I asked Mr Ichino to be my co-driver substitute on Sunday morning and I contacted the organiser about the change of a co-driver. I had total trust of Daniel and I am so disappointed but Mr Ichino was my co-driver twice: one domestic rally and just last month in the China Rally Championship he was my co-driver so in that sense we do not have to worry about the new combination.

Q:
The rally has now moved to Sapporo; what do you think of the stages here?

FN:
I feel they are very difficult stages especially the road surface being so rough. Sometimes the corners, sometimes the surface is very challenging.

Q:
It's the first time we see the Evo X in the PWRC, how did the test go on Monday?

FN:
Well the PWRC combined test was conducted on Monday and it was the first time for me to drive this particular car. I was satisfied with the result and the setting we found was very suitable. In the domestic rally here the Evo X was used and the result and data has been used in the test so we did good preparation for Rally Japan.

Q:
What are the main differences between the Evo X and the previous model?

FN:
The engine is totally different. The mid-speed torque has increased and will be more suitable for this type of car. The suspension is much better than the previous model. The traction is also very good.

Q:
What have you thought about your performance this year?

FN:
This year, the last time in New Zealand we had a bit of trouble but until then we were steadily gaining the points. We're aiming at higher standings in the last part of the season and especially Rally Japan. I am here at my home so I will be looking for victory.

Q:
What are your plans for next year? Could the Evo X be a winning car for next year?

FN:
It's that time of year when I think about next year but the world economy is a problem and it is the same in my homeland as well. I want to achieve a very good record with the Evo X, that's for sure.

Q:
Toshi, you have only scored points on one event this year. Do you think you might have more luck on your home event?

Toshi Arai:
Of course I tried too hard. The last time I get the three points was in the Swedish Rally. After then I have retirement every rally so I am disappointed but the car has been improved and I hope to have a good result here.

Q:
This is now the last round for you in PWRC this season; what improvements have been seen on the new car throughout the season?

TA:


Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Toshi Arai (JPN), Subaru Impreza [Production Car WRC]. Uddeholm Swedish Rally, February 7-10th 2008.
Fumio Nutahara (J) Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX
21.05.2017 - 1st place Sébastien Ogier (FRA)-Julien Ingrassia (FRA) Ford Fiesta WRC, M‐Sport World Rally Team, 2nd place Thierry Neuville (BEL)-Nicolas Gilsoul (BEL) Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC, Hyundai Motorsport and 3rd place Dani Sordo (ESP)-Marc Marti (ESP),Hyundai i2 Coupe WRC, Hyundai Motorsport
21.05.2017 - Fabio Andolfi (ITA) Manuel Fenoli (ITA) HYUNDAI i20 R5, ACI TEAM ITALIA
21.05.2017 - HIROKI ARAI (JPN) - GLENN MACNEALL (AUS) FORD FIESTA R5, TOMMI MÄKINEN RACING
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21.05.2017 - TEEMU SUNINEN (FIN) - MIKKO MARKKULA (FIN) FORD FIESTA R5, M-SPORT WORLD RALLY TEAM
21.05.2017 - Pontus Tidemand (SWE)-Jonas Andersson (SWE) Skoda Fabia R5 WRC2, Skoda Motorsport
21.05.2017 - Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR)-Anders Jaeger (NOR) SKODA FABIA R5, SKODA MOTORSPORT
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