Rd.6 Rally Japan

Production Car World Rally Championship
 
26 to 28 October 2007

PREVIEW

P-WRC returns to Obihiro

25 October 2007
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In just a few hours' time, the Ceremonial Start for this year's Rally Japan takes place in the centre of Obihiro town.

This year's Rally Japan occurs rather later than in previous seasons, eight weeks later than last year for example, and there is the chance of a lilttle white dusting on some of the more elevated stages over the course of the weekend.

This year's Rally Japan occurs rather later than in previous seasons, eight weeks later than last year for example, and there is the chance of a lilttle white dusting on some of the more elevated stages over the course of the weekend.

Last year will be remembered for Jari-Matti Latvala's dominance of the event until two stages from the end when a roll put him out of contention. The highest-placed Impreza was that of sibling crew Aki and Miika Teiskonen, followed closely by Leszek Kuzaj in the other SYMS-run spec C.

This time around, all eyes will be firmly planted on local hero Toshihiro Arai, looking strong enough to take his second Production car World Rally Championship crown here on home soil. The points spread is currently massively in favour of the Japanese driver, with his closest rival Mark Higgins some 24 points in arrears. All Toshi needs to do is finish a couple of positions ahead of Higgins to seal the title.

Pre-event test notes:

As with all rounds of the P-WRC, the Pre-event test took place on Monday, with 11 cars participating. As always, the test was headed up by STI Group N General Manager George Donaldson, who had the following comments...

George Donaldson - STI Group N Project General Manager:

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"We had a very good test in the Rikkubetsu area, a place where we've tested every year since the start of Rally Japan. Toshi had a relatively short test, just making sure the car was to his liking-which it was. Spyros Pavlides on the other hand, spent a lot of time in the car. Leszek Kuzaj had the second SYMS car, getting acclimatised with his new co-driver, Craig Parry. Patrik Flodin had quite an involved test, making sure their gremlins, as experienced in New Zealand, were behind them. In the Uspenskiy car, Evegeny Vertunov came late to the test as he had to complete his JAF driving license in the morning, but he had a good couple of hours' testing. The road was quite rough, which should be a good introduction to him on his first visit here. He tested the car right up to the bell at 4 o'clock. Weather-wise it was a nice day, though windy-which it often seems to be up here at this time of year."


The competitors are faced with a formidable challenge over the course of the three days this weekend.