Kimi Rally Japan preview
The hard days’ nights
Well, they all tell me, it’s going to be a very tricky rally in Japan. Obviously, this will be one of the toughest places we go this year. I have not been in Japan for a rally before, but if it’s difficult for me, it will be difficult for all the other drivers and teams, too.
I guess nobody knows these gravel forest tracks that well. The rookie I am, the more learning I have, of course.
After making the pace notes we know it’s a bit similiar to the Finnish rally. There are medium and fast roads. While you go that quick, you have to be very precise with the pace notes – as it was in Finland.
Obviously, I’ve been racing in Japan so many times, that I know very well, how changeable the weather might be. It will be challenging in the rally, too. They say it’s going to be good and warm weather, but you cannot be too surprised, if we’ll go in rain and mud instead.
This is a long rally. We’ll work long days, while we drive from early hours until the late evening. Beforehand starting the Rally in Thursday evening, everything feels the same as always. While I put my helmet on, I’ll just focus on going fast. Way ahead there is a lot of work and a lot of learning to do. I’ll make mistakes, but the other drivers will make mistakes, too. Whoever is making less errors than the others, will get a good result.
After Rally Germany three weeks ago we did not have any tests. That means we go straight forward from tarmac back to very demanding gravel. They say haste makes waste, easy does it. That’s good to remember – especially in this rally.
My target is the same like before ever WRC rally: to finish the rally without any major hiccups and to collect all the precious miles under my belt. If everything goes well, we’ll get some more points, too.
The Japanese fans are propably the most excited ones compared to any place in the world. Well, I have many icehockey bags full of the toys and all kind of supporter items. And here they are again following me from F1 to Rally. It’s great to feel the support. Thanks to them.