Sam Philip21 July 2009

Four in a row for Monster

Nobuhiro takes fourth consecutive Pikes Peak victory for Suzuki, Gronholm’s Fiesta crosses the line on fire…

Suzuki’s Nobuhiro 'Monster’ Tajima

Nobuhiro 'Monster’ Tajima is still king of the hill.

The Suzuki legend has taken his fourth consecutive Pikes Peak hillclimb title in his 873bhp SX4, fending off a challenge from Marcus Gronholm in an 800bhp Fiesta to complete the 12.42-mile run in 10 minutes 15.368 seconds.

That's seriously quick stuff, although not quick enough to beat Monster's course record of 10:01.408, set back in 2007. Weather didn't help his efforts to break the 10-minute barrier, with rain and lightning delaying the start out on the hill.

Gronholm crossed the line in 11:28.963, but looked set to go close to Monster's record after storming the first two sectors. However, his Fiesta's turbo went bang just a couple of miles from the top of the hill, the Ford crossing the line down on power... and on fire.

The second Fiesta, driven by rally champion Andreas Eriksson, crashed out on a tarmac section after heavy rain.

Rhys Millen - son of Pikes Peak legend Rod Millen and famous in his own right as the man who very nearly backflipped a truck - set a new class record in the two-wheel-drive class, clocking 12:09.397 in his Hyundai Genesis Coupe.

Millen promised to return in the ‘Unlimited' class next year to challenge the Monster. Can he defeat Tajima? Can anyone?

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