【Day4 & Awarding Ceremony】16 Apr 2018
Yokota and Oki win their second title, first time in seven years
|The La Festa Primavera 2018 started the final day with a fresh morning. The entrants left Osaka under the clear sky and drove on an expressway smoothly to MEIHAN Sports Land in Nara for the first PC competition. The competitions are going to be held at three different venues on the final day, and like it or not, by the time they get to Kyoto, the winner will be decided.
The PC competition at MEIHAN Sports Land was held in a dynamic setting, using the whole two circuit tracks. The entrants carefully estimated the distance to the measurement line placed at the end of a curve and tried to adjust the speed. They were concentrating hard on the competition, but at the same time they seemed to be enjoying every minute of the drive on the circuit just like a racing driver.
After finishing another PC competition held in the results open format in the TSUKIGASE Administration Center, the entrants headed to a stamp point in IGA UENO Castle in Mie. They got their sheet stamped by the staff dressed in a ninja costume in front of the castle, then made their way to the Iga City Sports Center for the final PC competition. The entrants waiting for the start of the very last PC competition in four days looked somewhat calm, and they all made a start in a relaxed state of mind.
They left the Iga City Sports Center and got delicious tea and a stamp in Wazuka Tenmangu in Kyoto, then got back to Nara. After getting a stamp at Aohani Tenman Hiroba, they had lunch at the NARA HOTEL. Their stomach was filled, and they headed to Kyoto again to cross the finish line.
The party arrived in Kyoto City and ran through Hanami-koji Street in Gion to the final stamp point in Kenninji Temple. Hanami-koji Street was jam-packed with tourists, and when the historic cars suddenly appeared there, everyone was surprised and stopped to take photos or to wave their hands. As the cars were going into Kenninji Temple, the tourists there also excitedly released the shutter over and over. The entrants got the final stamp and made their way to the finish venue in Okazaki Park. It was a stone's throw from Kenninji Temple.
There were a lot of spectators waiting for the entrants along Jingumichi Road leading to Heian Jingu Shrine in Okazaki Park. As the cars and the entrants, who just completed the approximately 1,100-km rally, were going into the venue, the crowd gave a warm cheer and applause generously with great respect. They went through the finish gate and looked back on this journey with a great smile, saying, "Thank you for the wonderful four days. It was so much fun."
The entrants enjoyed their last supper with Her Imperial Highness Princess Akiko and Kyoto City Mayor Daisaku Kadokawa in the evening. They never ran out of conversation at each table, but now it was time to enjoy the awards ceremony. Just like previous years, this year's rally unfolded dramatically in the middle. Mr. and Mrs. Takemoto, who had won five times in a row until last year, unfortunately retired on day three, while the veteran teams and the skillful teams steadily piled up points for their first title.
The third place was the No. 10 of Mr. and Mrs. Ninomiya. This pair has participated in La Festa Primavera since 2011 and was delighted to stand on the podium for the first time. The second place went to the No. 12 of the father and son team, Manabu and Masayoshi Yamazaki. They finished tenth on day one but moved up greatly after day two of the event. The son (driver) is still in his thirties and the team will continue to grow remarkably, so I look forward to seeing their next rally. And the No. 9 of Yokota and Oki won this year's rally by no less than some 5,000 points. This is their second title since the La Festa Primavera 2011 and they won for the first time in seven years. This veteran team knows the difficulty of winning a rally, but at the same time they know it gives much more pleasure. Some of the entrants had heard that they might retire in this event, but they told us about their next goal in the speech and said, "We will continue to participate in rallies and do our best.", and the venue was filled with a big applause.
Thus, the La Festa Primavera 2018 closed and the four-day spring journey came to an end. The beautiful Japanese landscape seen only at this time of year and the warmth of the local people the entrants felt will remain in their heart as a precious memory. The entrants shook hands and promised to see each other again in autumn, and went back to their daily life.
The La Festa Primavera 2018 will air on BS Fuji on Saturday, June 23 at 5 p.m. The autumn event La Festa Mille Miglia 2018 will be held on October 19 with a route running toward the Tohoku region, on which the event took place before.
（Historic Car Japan Mika Iwamoto）