From General Article [ 13/09/2003 ].
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The large RALLY HOKKAIDO Media Centre was filled to capacity yesterday as the Pre-Rally Media Conference was held. Leading Japanese drivers, Toshi Arai of the Subaru Production Rally Team and Nutahara Fumio of the ADVAN-PIAA Rally Team were joined by three of the large contingent of overseas drivers competing in Hokkaido - Sweden's Daniel Carlsson, New Zealander Geof Argyle (Gp A Lancer) and Armin Kremer's co-driver, Fred Berssen (MRF Tyres Gp. N Evo 7). They shared their impressions of the course in the Tokachi region of Japan's northernmost island, as well as giving some insights into their own reasons for becoming rally drivers.
Q1. What are you first impressions of Japan and the RALLY HOKKAIDO stages?
Berssen: "The flight to Japan from Germany was long, but I'm glad to be here - it's beautiful, the people are very friendly. The new course is a great challenge."
Arai: "Speed-wise it's like New Zealand, though their roads are wider and harder. It's also similar to Sweden."
Carlsson: "Its similar to Sweden, if you take away the snow. Similar to the RAC, as well."
Argyle: "It's similar to some Australian rallies I've driven."
Q2. What does rallying mean to you?
Arai: " I've driven in rallies for 14 years. I couldn't have chosen anything better else to do."
Nutahara: "I get to travel and it's enjoyable. More than that, driving itself is the thrill. When I'm driving it's the only thing I think about. You can get a kind of feeling you never get in your everyday life."
Carlsson: " Working as a team with the co-driver, winning and being on the podium - that's a great feeling!"
Argyle: "It's quite hard work to put a team together, but once you do and get into the car it's fantastic."
Berssen: "You go to so many countries and get to meet so many people and cultures. It's a great adventure. The Asia-Pacific Rally Championship is an all new experience and there are strong competitors. You really need complete focus at this event."
Rally Hokkaido live results will be available at www.rally-hokkaido.com.