Training period 5 (incl. Rally Latvia) 12 Oct. - 18 Oct. 2015

2015.11.17 チャレンジプログラム2015

Instructors:Jouni Ampuja, Jarmo Lehtinen

[Training objectives]

This is the fifth and the last training in 2015. Both Arai and Katsuta participated in Rally Latvia after the three days training in Finland. The key points for the rally this time was to get their confidence back to normal level after the big crash in the previous rally and to gain proper stage kilometers with different type of stages and surfaces.

Training and Rally summary

Day1 12 Sep.
Driving training @ Sirkkamaki and Laheojantie
Driving training using two different stages; wide Sirkkamaki stage and narrow Laheojantie stage. To improve the driving from the pacenotes, they moved the stage before drivers get used to the road and start driving by the memory.
Day2-3 13-14 Sep.
Pacenote training
Day2: Pacenote training with two stages; Myhinpaa and Ruuhimaki. Both stages consist of very high speed wide roads with many jumps and crests.
Day3: Pacenote training with Paijala and Pihlajakoski. They are also fast stages, and especially Paijala is one of the most challenging stages in Rally Finland.
Day4-7 15-18 Oct.
Rally Latvia
Participated in Rally Latvia, the final round of Latvia national rally championship. Seven stages on Day1 were quite short tarmac stages using a circuit and city stages. Stages on Day2 were driven in Jurmala area; SS8-11 on the gravel roads and the final SS12 on tarmac.

■Major events at Rally Latvia

  1. 15 Oct.
    - Travel from Finland to Latvia
    - Rally briefing
  2. 16 Oct.
    - Administrative check
    - Scrutineering
    - Recce
    - Shakedown stage - Car set up
  3. 17 Oct. Rally Latvia Day1
    - AM: Recce
    - SS1-7: Total 32.87km
  4. 18 Oct. Rally Latvia Day2
    - SS8-12: Total 74.5km
    - Arai/Hall: Class 3rd, 5th overall
    - Katsuta/Adachi retired at SS11

Arai/Hall: On the first two stages Arai couldn’t get best performance out of his driving because lack of grip and too soft suspension set ups. He handled that situation well and got better feeling and times after set up changes in service. He made a good solid driving and finished the day1 with class 6th and 13th overall. On day2, Arai continued driving on his comfortable speed and managed set many good stage times. Combination with Phil also got better after each stage. He set the second fastest on SS10 and the third fastest on SS8 and 12, and finally finished with the class 3rd and 5th overall.

Katsuta/Adachi: With his circuit race background, Katsuta enjoyed the day1's tarmac stages a lot. He controlled the car well and marked the second fastest on SS5 and SS7. On day2 he was continuing the good clean runs and dealing the various situations very well, however an accident happened on SS11. Unforthuately they ended up retiring one stage before the final. After the crash both crew got physical checks at the hospital and both of them were ok.

Driver's diary

Hiroki Arai

written by Hiroki Arai
I'm very happy to manage to finish the two days safely. Because of the previous accident, I was more cautious this time and paid close attention on each stage. Combination with Phil gradually got better, and time got faster stage by stage. After the rally, I realized that the important thing is to know the limit, to decide up to where I take the risk, and to find out the proper speed and level to complete the rally. Finally, I would like to express my appreciation to everybody in the team, and TOYOTA GAZOO Racing.

【Comments from instructors】 Although we weren't looking for the top results in this rally, they managed to get a good result after following the instructions given. At the beginning of the program, we started from basic things, but he learned new things quickly and showed very constant driving throughout the trainings. He has improved a lot during the season and we expect more agressive and determined driving in the future.


written by Takamoto_Katsuta
This time I drove Group N car, which is a bit different from others, but I intended to try what I can do and make the best out of it. Day 1 started very well with my race experience, and I thought I could show my thankfulness to mechanics who managed to fix the car after the previous accident. Day2 consisted of long gravel special stages, and my objective was to complete the rally without taking risks. But unfortunately I had to retire at SS11, and I was very sorry about it. Without forgetting this frustrated feeling, I will work harder next year. Thank you very much to my instructors and staffs in TMR and TOYOTA GAZOO Racing, and everybody who supported me.

【Comments from instructors】 The result of Rally Latvia was unfortunate, but he showed great performance until SS10, and we always value his attitude and will to win. At the beginning of the program, he almost had no rally experience, and therefore we spent a lot of time to get used to gravel driving and left-hand driven cars. He achieved big steps in car handling in short time. He has also made a huge progress on pacenotes, but further pacenote experience will bring him even better result in his driving.

Summary of the 2015 program


After starting the program with Arai and Katsuta in June we’ve already gone a long way. We started from very basic skills and there were so much to teach, but both of them were extremely motivated and it was very encouraging for instructors. Through the five training periods, they drove over 1,000km each. We expected that mistakes can happen when driving a big amount of stage kilometers, and it did actually happened. But we were sure that both learned from the mistakes. There are still a lot to develop for them to reach the professional level, but at this point they are on good way and they both have possibilities to reach much higher level.