25 - 28 Oct 07
Most Recent Winner:Mikko Hirvonen (2008)
After a highly-successful debut in 2004, Rally Japan has quickly become a popular fixture on the calendar. The event is based around the Tokachi region in Hokkaido - Japan's northernmost island -and the fast and flowing gravel stages, with a consistency similar to that in New Zealand, thread their way through the narrow gaps in the forests.
Hokkaido is the northernmost island of the Japanese chain, and is much more lightly populated than the mainland. A pair of mountain ranges effectively protects the Tokachi region, and the host city of Obihiro from the worst of the weather, but, given its exposed location to the Pacific weather streams, it can be pretty temperamental at times. Rain can be expected, which can turn this event into the far-eastern equivalent of Wales Rally GB.
Japan and rallying are almost intrinsically linked, with Japanese manufacturers such as Toyota, Mitsubishi, Suzuki, Mazda and, perhaps most notably, Subaru all having tasted success in the sport. The Japanese rally fans, as they are with most sports, are loyal, knowledgeable and enthusiastic, and are bound to give any travelling visitors a most hearty welcome to the stages.
2007 Mikko Hirvonen (Ford Focus RS)
2006 Sebastien Loeb (Citroen Xsara)
2005 Marcus Gronholm (Peugeot 307)
2004 Petter Solberg (Subaru Impreza)