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Nobuhiro “Monster” Tajima finished the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb first in the Electric Class (9:46.530), establishing a new division record.
The race, held on June 30, commenced in the morning under a calm, clear blue sky; however these ideal weather conditions took a turn for the worse and a downpour of rain hit the track just as the EV division was set to run.
Just as Greg Tracy – who was the fastest qualifier within the Electric Vehicle division – approached the time for his run up the mountain, the poor weather forced all teams to make a quick tire swap to grooved tires rather than the higher performance non-grooved racing slicks.
All drivers in the Electric Division raced in extremely difficult wet conditions, along with limited visibility in the higher sections of the race course.
On the Mitsubishi, team, who was leaving first and second following a very good performance in qualification, Masuoka recorded a time of 10 minutes, 21.866 seconds, with Tracy following closely behind at 10 minutes, 23.649 seconds.
Even in these challenging conditions, the Mitsubishi pair of drivers broke last year’s second place time in the EV Division of 10 minutes, 30.850, achieved in 2012 by Masuoka piloting the Mitsubishi i-MiEV Evolution on a dry road in optimal conditions.
But it is the highly experienced ‘Monster’ Tajima (2011 car pictured) who conquered the Electric Division with a time under the 10 minutes mark.
This video is of Monster’s June 28 practice run.
Tire engineers with Tajima’s Singapore-based tire provider, Giti Tires, made the right call just minutes before Tajima’s record run when they hand cut tread grooves into the 20-inch slicks that had been specially designed for Tajima’s vehicle.
The Toyota TMG EV P002 electric race car and driver Rod Millen registered a time just under ten-and-a half-minutes (10:24.301), good for the fourth place.