Tue 14 Nov 2023

Colourful end to 2023 promised in Japan

It might rain. It might not. Whatever the weather, Aichi is always awesome - especially at this time of the year. And even more especially when the FIA World Rally Championship’s in Toyota City.

The World Rally Championship is just that, it’s a world series which tours planet earth’s finest roads and coolest places. This week’s Forum8 Rally Japan certainly ticks both boxes. The stages provide some of the season’s most challenging asphalt tests, but as well as the competition, it’s the colour, the atmosphere and the people which really help to make the season-closer a truly memorable occasion.


It’s possible you might see more fans on some of the stages elsewhere in the championship, but you will be hard-pushed to see any more dedicated to their particular cause. The beautifully painted signs declaring ‘Takamoto Katsuta #1 Forever’ sit perfectly alongside the Hyundai i20 N Rally1 headgear which comes complete with a ridiculously well tailored, perfectly fitting and accurate Thierry Neuville race suit beneath it.


For rally fans in Japan, you get the feeling the rest of the year is just about waiting for this week. And when this week arrives, they absolutely wear their heart and the colours on their sleeve.

Inevitably, for the vast majority, those colours are the red, black and white of Toyota Gazoo Racing. And why not? What’s not to love for the locals? There’s the fact that Toyota is a Japanese car giant; there’s Katsuta (and his father Norihiko) and, of course, there’s Kalle Rovanperä - the drift king who takes a liking for all things Japanese culture


But don’t be fooled, as much as the home crowd wants the home team to go well - Japanese fans are enormously respectful of everybody competing this week. The appreciation for Toyota is dwarfed by a love of the sport of rallying.


That’s the cars and the competition covered. The other huge draws this week are the food, the culture and, of course, the famous fall colours. 


It’s Japan. Enjoy it. 

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