Tue 15 Nov 2022

View from the service park: Japan

The Toyota City Stadium provided an impressive backdrop for FORUM8 Rally Japan – even more so when it was filled with some of the world’s most passionate fans.

Wherever you go in the FIA World Rally Championship, local spectators bring colour and emotion, but nowhere does it quite like Japan.

When the gates opened at midday on Thursday, the queue to get in was a kilometre long and it was still five deep outside Toyota as the crew were breaking the service park down – in the pouring rain – on Sunday afternoon.

They stood, they cheered, they crafted Toyota GR Yaris Rally1-style headgear, and they waited patiently for a wave, a smile and maybe even a selfie with their hero of heroes Takamoto Katsuta.

Sébastien Ogier waved his own, but smiled with the admission: “Taka is the superstar.”

He was right.

Every time Toyota’s ‘superstar’ stepped outside, the crowds went wild – but wild in a very dignified, flag-waving Japanese style.

The support for both the man himself and the rally was astonishing from the locals.

Close Calls: FORUM8 Rally Japan 2022

Beyond the stadium, the street stage in Okazaki was another eye-opener as thousands and thousands packed the river banks to watch their heroes negotiate the tricky 1.4-kilometre test.

Fans aside, the greatest views came outside of the stadium and well out into the Aichi countryside. In forests packed with Japanese Maples, the autumn colours provided a stunning backdrop to the 2022 season farewell.

The food, the fans and the fight ensured FORUM8 Rally Japan provided the very best possible spectacle on the WRC’s return to this part of the world.

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Hungary
Starts: Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 6:00:00 AM