Rally Japan (Hokkaido) History

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OLD EVENT (sorry to give the same description in different orders, but for non-Japanese fans this hopefully explains Japan's regions and events quite well):

New in 2004, with a break in 2009 Hokkaido was last a WRC event in 2010. This is an important update due in late 2019 for the exciting news that Japan is back into the WRC calendar 2020 with a very different asphalt rally.

A simple excitement starter may be that Colin McRae had Rally Japan as a very wet, hilly asphalt rally in his games, though that is more a story for the new Rally Japan.

The Hokkaido Rally is based on Japan's North Island named Hokkaido, and here in the island's capital Sapporo, famous as the base to the 1972 Winter Olympics and as a result later a clever model name to a Mitsubishi sports coupé. The Hokkaido Rally started in 2002 in that region (at first to the east of Sapporo) as a test event to Japan's original WRC event. When Japan's WRC event started in 2004, the Hokkaido Rally had a break. In following years we had two Hokkaido Rallies, the WRC and the APRC event, using same region, similar stages, different dates. But basically the events are closely linked and when the WRC event stopped in 2009 and from 2011 onwards, the Hokkaido Rally lived on as an APRC round.

It was always a very characteristic forest-gravel event edging towards rain forest and with very much public interest.

Could this public interest be even more when the Rally Japan is moved to the main island into the Aichi region and with stages in the hills to the north-east, heading towards Tokyo?

NEW EVENT from 2020:

Nagoya (main island, prefecture Aichi) may not be as famous as Sapporo (Hokkaido island) and has no traditional event accompanying it. But the new Rally Japan is on the same island as Tokyo, with only a 3hours drive separating Nagoya from Japan's capital. As well neighbour city to Nagoya is Toyota. Both cities are in the prefecture of Aichi and Toyota was formerly called Koromo, but renamed to Toyota as it is home to several Toyota car factories. So this new Rally Japan is a totally different region for a start, but likely even with more enthusiasm, when the original Sapporo based Hokkaido Rally already saw how many car nuts and rally fans Japan does have.

Nagoya may miss an accompanying event as the famous Hokkaido Rally, but it can be referred to the Playstation games of Colin McRae Rally. This however is not to discredit the new Nagoya based WRC event, right in contrary:

The main asset of the new Rally Japan is that it is an asphalt rally! Most of us would have never expected a quality asphalt rally from Asia, but if anyone in Asia can deliver it is Japan! If I give reference to the CMR games, it is solely so you may have realised the region is very hilly, very wet and slippy. In contrast to most Asian countries Japan is right hand drive (traffic on the left) and has the most unusual road markings. The CMR game Rally Japan is a copy of these characters and region with road markings, vegetation, etc., while ironically the Richard Burns Rally game based its Japan Rally on the Hokkaido Rally - though that both these iconic games had a Rally Japan may further show how much rally drivers love Japan and how much the Japanese love their rallying. The new Rally Japan is not a game, but be guaranteed an asphalt rally that is very hilly, twisty, low grip, standing water, on asphalt roads that look like no other asphalt roads in the World!

This unproven event is scheduled as the last event and decider of the 2020 WRC? Good so, it will be the most surprising, most challenging and one of the most unusual events we have ever seen! Although I myself was always a big fan of deciding the WRC in GB, this one really is a case of keeping the highlight for the finale!



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Rally Japan (Hokkaido) Winners

Click on 'Event Summary' for each year for detailed information.

Year Pos. No. Driver Co-Driver Car
2010 WRC 1st #2 Sébastien Ogier Julien Ingrassia Citroën C4 WRC
Entry Summary | Entry List | Event News | Schedule | Complete Results | Retirements  
2008 WRC 1st #3 Mikko Hirvonen Jarmo Lehtinen Ford Focus (Mk2)
Entry Summary | Entry List | Event News | Schedule | Complete Results | Retirements  
2007 WRC 1st #4 Mikko Hirvonen Jarmo Lehtinen Ford Focus (Mk2)
Entry Summary | Entry List | Event News | Schedule | Complete Results | Retirements  
2006 WRC 1st #1 Sébastien Loeb Daniel Elena Citroën Xsara
Entry Summary | Entry List | Event News | Schedule | Complete Results | Retirements  
2005 WRC 1st #7 Marcus Grönholm Timo Rautiainen Peugeot 307
Entry Summary | Entry List | Event News | Schedule | Complete Results | Retirements  
2004 WRC 1st #1 Petter Solberg Phil Mills Subaru Impreza (44S)
Entry Summary | Entry List | Event News | Schedule | Complete Results | Retirements