05 Dec 07
The first international rally event - the International Rally in Hokkaido was held in 2001. In 2002, the event was added to the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship (Rally Hokkaido).
The first World Championship rally in Japan was run in 2004. It has always been based at Obihiro, after three trial runs in earlier years. That first year, the ceremonial start gathered 52,000 spectators.
Subaru World Rally Team's Petter Solberg became the first Rally Japan winner on the manufacturers' home event.
In 2005, Marcus Gronholm won the event while Sebastien Loeb claimed his second drivers' title that same weekend.
In 2006, Loeb won the rally and became the most successful rally driver in the WRC history with 27 wins.
That same year 252,100 spectators attended the event while 152 national and 34 international media representatives covered the rally.