The 90th edition of Pikes Peak International Hill Climb (PPIHC) started on a high note. Team APEV with Monster Sport had three days of successful practice before race weekend, and reigning champion Nobuhiro “Monster” Tajima was full of confidence on race day. All eyes were targeted on Tajima, who had qualified first in the electric category, but was forced to retire after an engine failure. Victory went to Fumio Nutahara who was driving the Toyota Motorsport TMG EVP002 and completed the stage in a record time of 10 minutes and 15 seconds. He was eventually ranked sixth overall.
Things were going well for Tajima until a fast section called “Horseshoe,” about 1.5 kilometers into the course. Tajima explains, “I saw smoke coming out from the motor, and I had no choice but to stop the car so it wouldn’t get any worse. I am very disappointed because my team and I have put a tremendous effort to get where we are today.” Although Tajima was saddened by the problem that put a halt to his race, his spirit persevered: “Thank you so much for your support. I will be back next year. Watch out for me!”