Japan confirms WRC ambitions
A consortium of motorsport organisers has confirmed its ambitions to hold a WRC round in Japan for the first time since 2010.
WRC Japan Round Bid Committee announced outline details of the planned event at the Tokyo Auto Salon, raising the prospect the country may host a round of the FIA World Rally Championship as early as 2019.
Unlike previous editions, which were held on the northern island of Hokkaido, the new event aims to find its base in the prefectures of Aichi and Gifu on Honshu.
This would allow special stages in the mountainous region encompassing the iconic Mount Fuji, between Tokyo, Yokohama and Nagoya.
The Aichi Expo Park, location of the 2005 World Fair, has been identified for the service park and further details are expected to be announced later this spring. If the bid is successful, the event is hoping for a place on the 2019 WRC calendar.
Rallying’s popularity in Japan has enjoyed a significant boost since Toyota Gazoo Racing returned to the WRC 12 months ago.
Toyota is also supporting the development of young Japanese drivers Hiroki Arai and Takamoto Katsuta, who will tackle a five-round WRC 2 programme this season.
Rally Japan was part of the WRC six times between 2004 and 2010. The last edition was based in Sapporo and won by Sébastien Ogier and Julian Ingrassia in a Citroen C4.
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