Hachi-roku is back! A wee while ago, World Rally Blog featured a story about the Toyota Corolla AE86 and it’s rallying adventures. Croatian drifter Josip Žagar – Zax took part in a rally, and as expected, had a great time driving a rear wheel drive car on the narrow and twisty rally stages.
Both car and it’s crew enjoyed the rally outing so much, that they decided to run on few more events in Croatian national championship this year. Next up was Zagreb Delta Rally, held on the compact, but nonetheless tricky special stages not far from Croatian capital Zagreb. The highlight of this rally is the famous “Martin jump”, set on a hilltop and occupied by fans, this spot was part of many rallies in the past. Now, it’s featured in every stage of this particular rally, so spectators can enjoy seeing crews tackle the famous jump all day long.
[quote]”Last year, I was filming and spectating on this rally, and saw another RWD car take the jump in spectacular fashion. The desire to do it myself was instant!”, Zax explains.[/quote]
“So, we decided to do it this year. I wanted to take that jump in a rally car, and I wanted a photo showing my Toyota with it’s wheels off the ground.”
The thing about this car is, it’s basically production vehicle, with odd modification here and there, but nothing major. Most importantly, suspension was not modified, even though Zax planned some mods before the rally.
“We wanted to use Bilstein shocks on this rally, but unfortunately, they were not ready in time.”
For one of the jumps, Josip decided to go flat out and take the blind crest with 115 km/h – jump was the most exciting of all, according to the spectators, but the car payed the price. When Toyota returned to Earth, or rather, landed on it’s wheels, something was odd. There was little time to think, though, as the little Japanese needed immediate correction to make it around the next right hand bend. However, when crew reached the stage end, they realized the extent of the damage.
“It was pretty bad actually. Perhaps, with Bilsteins, this could have been avoided, but it is what it is – when we landed, the right front suspension decided it had enough fun, and the shock absorber tore the fender open. To reach the finish of the rally, we had to be creative, so we used lashing belt to secure the suspension for the remainder of the event”, Zax explained, adding he wasn’t expecting a jump to be so big.
Fast forward the video to 4:05 to see Zax in action from much better angle!
Now, even though in video this jump might not look like much, if you compare it to what WRC guys are doing in their multi-million machines, reality is quite different! I actually had the privilege to experience this particular jump on several occasions as a co-driver. No matter how much “We won’t go flat out, it’s dangerous” you put into it beforehand, when you arrive to the spot, you are going as fast as you dare, and once you launch, road below you goes by very fast, and upon landing you barely have time to point the front wheels in the right direction and hope they bite. Otherwise, you’ll end up in a local shop, which is just on the outside of the next corner.
[quote]”Car is broken, and it will take some time and effort to put it back together, but we’ll be ready for the next event, no worries about that!”, Josip says. [/quote]
And the next event is all gravel – which would put a smile on anyone’s face, don’t you think. Josip and his new (temporary?) co-driver Saša Črnec are already looking forward to it.