Japan date confirmed

Japan will host a warm-up rally in November to further its bid for inclusion in the 2020 FIA World Rally Championship calendar.

The two-day non-championship event will be held the week before Kennards Hire Rally Australia, allowing team representatives to inspect the service park and asphalt roads en route to the season-closing event in Coffs Harbour.

The WRC Japan Round Bid Committee, which is spearheading the country’s attempt to return to the calendar in 2020 after a 10-year absence, will trial special stages planned for inclusion in a WRC round. The event will also be used to train organisers and marshals.

The rally, provisionally called Central Rally Aichi 2019, will be held on 9 - 10 November in Nagakute city on Japan’s main island of Honshu. Seven special stages covering 123.26km are planned in Aichi Prefecture.

Nagakute lies 260km from capital city Tokyo and boasts a population of about eight million people.

Japan held a successful two-day candidate rally in 2018 when more than 50,000 fans flocked to the event in the nearby city of Shinshiro.

The 2019 event was launched at last weekend’s Motorsport Japan Festival in Tokyo. Guests included WRC Promoter managing director Oliver Ciesla, pictured top right with Rally Japan’s Koji Takahashi.

Also present was double PWRC champion Toshihiro Arai, who demonstrated Colin McRae’s 1997 Subaru Impreza WRC.

Toyota Gazoo Racing’s Yaris World Rally Car was on display, along with the WRC manufacturers’ trophy which the Japanese squad won last season.

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