Nobuhiro Tajima
Rod Millen
Ian Fftch
Andrew Hawkeswood
Marty Roestenburg
Greg Ackland

* For futher information, please go to the Race to the Sky official web site.

Silverstone Race to the Sky 2004

Suzuki Sport Grand Vitara driven by "Monster" Tajima achieves overall win for 2 years in a row!

On April 10th to 11th, one of the biggest hill climb event "Race to the Sky" was held at Queenstown, south island of New Zealand. "Monster" Tajima who has drove Suzuki Sport Escudo has won overall for the 5th time, 2 years in a row.

The big interests were the three drivers, who were "Monster" Tajima (Suzuki Grand Vitara), Rod Millen (Toyota Tundra), and Kenneth Ericsson (Subaru Impreza WRCar). Organizers needed to adjust the spectators going into the stages since the number of crowds were far more than it was expected this year. The event has become popular than ever, and this year, for the first time in its event, there was a 4 hour live coverage in New Zealand, by using 14 cameras, 18 on-board cameras, and helicopter gyro camera.

The race week had started with snow weather even on beginning of autumn season. Although in that kind of bad occasion, Suzuki Sport Team has undergone a good shakedown test to get exact set up for the race. This has resulted top time in Saturday's first qualifying.

On Sunday, it was said to be snow but it turned out to be bright sunshine. But the wind was very strong, enough to almost knock down things and even the vehicles which were competing were almost pushed out to the edge of the course. Also the course condition was worse than ever before which looks very difficult to break the course record.

The second qualifying, the shootout (This is to determine the start order of the top 15 contenders) top time was Rod Millen. Tajima has held his pace not to break the car since after Rod's run the course were with big rocks due to the incuts. Tajima has resulted 2nd place.

With many spectators from all over the world, The final race has started on 14:00. Motorcycles, quads, rally cars, original open wheels, and many other different types of vehicle all together 93 cars has started off. The last three cars has shown up.
Kenneth Ericsson has not had good run from the qualifying do to mechanical trouble, and same thing happened on final race and had to retire in middle of the mountain. Rod Millen has run up the hill dynamically with big incuts marking 8m36sec847 and became top. And it was Tajima's turn.
4 on-board cameras has been installed with every camera concentrating on live coverage in order not to miss Tajima's run. Tajima has started up the hill, tracing his line, yet to choose new lines of where big rocks were on course. Using his every experience and excellent ability, he has crossed the finish line with 8m17sec848! It was pity that he could not break the course record which he has made last year, but it was a 5th time, 2 years in a row overall win for Tajima, beating Rod Millen over 19 seconds.


Suzuki Sport Grand Vitara heads for another victory on Race to the Sky ! [04/02/27]

Race to the Sky official web site