Video: Tommi Makinen Attacks the Touge

Tommi Makinen is one of the many respected Finnish names to dominate WRC. Through the late nineties, Makinen was an almost-untouchable force; winning four consecutive titles with Mitsubishi and winning the daunting Monte Carlo rally four years in a row. Here we get the opportunity to see him thrashing the Subaru WRC car he ran the last year of his career. With the Hot Version judges riding shotgun, Orido, Tsuchiya and Taniguchi all weigh in on the performance of a works rally car and the driving brilliance of the reserved Finn. Though they are all respected and successful drivers in their own fields, they cannot help but be bewildered by Makinen’s ability.

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Makinen’s driving brings a smile to the astonished Orido.

Set on the tight, twisting Gunsai touge used for Hot Version’s Touge Challenge series, Makinen gives a masterclass on how to manage a rally car on surfaces that involve snow, ice and dry patches. Thankfully, the onboard footage is accompanied by a footcam which shows some of Makinen’s technique at work. As he enters certain corners, his left foot begins to brake and his right foot still adds jabs of throttle to stabilize the rear end. In longer corners, his right and left foot dance of their pedals, maintaining a constant, mild level of oversteer that allows Makinen to keep his car pointed in the right direction and avoid any time-sapping understeer.

Makinen’s excellent throttle control is only bested by his ability to read the surface in front of him. Every bit of snow and every patch of ice is anticipated and considered in his approach to the corner. Perhaps the highest praise he, or any racing driver can receive, is the honest admittance from his passengers that riding along was not, even in treacherous conditions, scary at all.

About the author

Tommy Parry

Tommy Parry has been racing and writing about racing cars for the past seven years. As an automotive enthusiast from a young age, he worked jobs revolving around cars throughout high school, and tried his hand on the race track on his 20th birthday. After winning his first outdoor kart race, Tommy began working as an apprentice mechanic to amateur racers in the Bay Area to sharpen his mechanical understanding. He has worked as a track day instructor and automotive writer since 2012, and continues to race karts, formula cars, sedans, and rally cars in the San Francisco region.
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