The Rallye Monte Carlo is the first time the Japanese manufacturer’s tyres have won a round of the P-WRC and the maiden victory for Nutahara.
Nutahara is a seasoned campaigner in the production category of the World Rally Championship, for group N, or showroom specification, cars. However, for the 2006 season, Nutahara has engaged the services of experienced co-driver Daniel Barritt and the combination is already paying off.
Bulgarian Julien Popov initially set the P-WRC pace, but Nutahara stole the lead on the sixth stage, winning his first stage of the event. Nasser Al-Attiyah came back at Nutahara at the beginning of the second day and following two stage wins, took the lead before crashing into a bridge. His car was repaired but three further stage wins by Nutahara meant that he re-took the lead and successfully defended it to.
Speaking at the end of the event, Nutahara said: “I have been waiting for a win for a long time and finally it has come today! There are three new things for me: I have a new co-driver, Daniel Barritt, and he has been fantastic; we have a new car the Evolution IX which has a much better engine and this is the first time that Yokohama tyres have ever won in Monte Carlo. It’s fantastic.”