MMC
Tuesday 2 September 2002

Rally Hokkaido 2002
Start of the first ever Japanese round of the
Asia Pacific Rally Championship!


Katsuhiko Taguchi of Team Mitsubishi Ralliart to enter
Rally Hokkaido 2002 in a Group A spec. Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution



Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution
K. Taguchi / D. Ringer



Entrants are from various countries.
Out of the 61 entrants 35 will compete in a Mitsubishi.

The first ever Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) event to is held in Japan. The Rally Hokkaido 2002 will host the 4th event on the APRC calendar. The 4-day event will make its start on September 5th (Thursday) and finish on the 8th (Sunday). The event will take place around Obihiro City, Hokkaido and cover some 1,077.62 (out of which 260.66km will be special stages.) Last year, the event was held as consideration as a round of the either the APRC or the World Rally Championship (WRC). As a result of this event, it was formally named a round of the APRC for the 2002 season. There will of course be plenty of talented entries from Japan but teams will also join the Hokkaido event from England, Italy and Argentina making the event truly international.
Of particular interest is the entry of Japan's Katsuhiko Taguchi and Fumio Nutahara both in Mitsubishi Evolutions. International entries include Production Car World Rally Championship (Group-N) Karamjit Singh of Malaysia (Proton Pert), The APRC veteran Possum Bourne (New Zealander - Subaru Impreza) and Ed Ordnyski, a top rally driver who has experienced 8 Group-N victories in Group-N in Australia (Australian-Mitsubishi Lancer). Marcos Ligato (Argentina - Mitsubishi Lancer)
Nobuhiro Tajima will compete in the Suzuki Ignis (Japanese model name- Swift) in Super1600 (Junior World Rally Championship (JWRC). The Suzuki managed to land 3rd in class on the Rally Deutschland. But the Suzuki's performance in the front-wheel drive with a normally aspirated 1600 cc engine) will be of considerable interest.

Will Taguchi, Singh and Bourne all compete in Group-A?
Will 1999 and 2000 Japanese Rally Champion Fumio Nutahara will be the one to beat out the formidable Group-N rivals from abroad?

The mountain areas, which include hills and various plains regions in the north and southwest of Obihiro City, will be the staging area for the event. Total distance will amount to approximately 1,100 km, which will include almost 270 km of SS (=Special Stage) making it a formidable international event. The longest SS traverses Group-Avel-covered forest roads totaling 27.28km. Leg 1 will run from SS2 to SS4. In Leg 2 there is a 20.83km SS. Japanese rally special stages tend to be notoriously short but finally its seems a competitive section worthy of the WRC has finally been realized.
There are various drivers that will be competing in the event. There will be teams who have been competing regularly in the Production Car World Rally Championship. The current top runner in the Production Car World Rally Championship, Karamjit Singh of Malaysia will be competing in the Proton. "Karamjit has competed in about 25 events a year so has he gained considerable experience," says Katsuhiko Taguchi who will be running against him in a Group-A spec. Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution. Taguchi also has considerable experience with a 1999 APRC Champion title under his belt. He competed in the British Rally Championship this year gaining valuable experience building on his wide-ranginGroup-Ally career.
" I was a little weak on low-speed cornering, but in the British Rally Championship I experienced plenty of that. On the Hokkaido Rally there's Group-Avel on the stages and deep wheel tracks begin to appear. How to avoid them is my biggest worry." Singh and Bourne will probably be the fastest. There hasn't been a Japanese driver that has beaten Bourne yet.
Two years ago Taguchi entered the Malaysia Rally (APRC) he showed considerable potential against rival Bourne but subsequently was forced to retire. In the Australia Rally (WRC) he managed a difference of only about 1 sec. per kilometer.
But what worry the most of the drivers competing in the Hokkaido Rally are the formidable forest roads. Those mountain roads are going to be tough for not only Singh but for Bourne as well. All-Japan top driver Fumio Nutahara will probably show the greatest potential here.
"I sat next to Mr. Nutahara and he gave me some pointers regarding those ruts but it was quite difficult. You can't simply absorb the special skill and experience of an All-Japan Champ in one sitting " says Taguchi. However, the colorful arrays of Group-N drivers competing in the Hokkaido Rally are very skilled. It's not rare to see Argentine's Marcos Ligato running top in Group-N on a WRC event. In 2001 he competed in the Finland Rally and won in Group-N beating out other event specialists. It's unthinkable that a driver of such caliber would hesitate about surface conditions.
The Italian team, "Top Run" has considerable experience in FF1600 and Group-N with their entry in the WRC. Nico Caldarola (Italian - Mitsubishi Lancer) will certainly show some skilled driving.
After verifying the entry list, we see the next generation of WRC drivers and a top class battle in Group-N. Compared to other APRC events, the Hokkaido Rally with its array of top drivers promises to be a truly international event.
Yutaka Awazuhara and Tajima will be competing in the 2000cc and under class driving a Suzuki Ignis. "We'd like to see how the JWRC spec. Super1600 will run. It's a sort of test for our entry into the upcoming Great Britain Rally (WRC). Even if there is a possibility of retiring, we'll certainly do our best," says an enthusiastic Taguchi. Compared with other events of the APRC or the WRC where high-speed are the norm, the Hokkaido Rally stages are quite narrow and low-speed. The out-in-out layout of course its considerably more difficult. You have to learn how to run "on the rail" so to speak. This is where Japanese drivers will have a chance to show their true potential. This is where Fumio Nutahara, who has mastered low-speed cornering, can take up the challenge.



Katsuhiko TAGUCHI-Team Structure
 
Team Mitsubishi Ralliart
Team Director Andrew COWAN (GB)
Driver Katsuhiko TAGUCHI (J)
Co-Driver Derek RINGER (GB)
Engineer / Mechanic from Ralliart Europe 6-people / from Japan 5-people
Car Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution

Profile
 
Katsuhiko TAGUCHI

Born 1972 in Okayama,JAPAN.
Prefecture He grew up with a rally driver as father. In 1993, he begins competing in dirt trial events. He shows his potential by winning numerous events debuting in a Mitsubishi Lancer Group-N on the New Zealand Rally. The following year in 1995 he moved to Australia to take up rallying full time competing in domestic rally championships in Australia and New Zealand. In 1996 he entered 3 events of the APRC (Asia Pacific Rally Championship) ranking 4th in the Group-N standings. He also became Group-N champion in the Malaysia Championships. In 1997 he moved to Malaysia where he joined Ralliart EON Malaysia. From there he continued his challenge of domestic championship events with the APRC as his main objective. In the Malaysia Rally Championship he achieved 2 successive Group-N Championship wins becoming 5th in the APRC Group-N ranking. He continued to show considerable potential in the 1998 Malaysia Rally Championship achieving his 3rd consecutive year as Group-N Champion. He took the victory in class at the APRC Malaysia Rally finishing the season 2nd in the Group-N Cup ranking. He was in prime form in 1999 as he set his sights on the Group-N Driver's Cup. From the opening event, he achieves 2 class wins. He is declared Group-N champion even before the final event is finished. His potential does not end there as he takes a double win by taking both the Group-N as well as the overall victory on the APRC. This incredible feat was achieved in a Group-N spec. vehicle becoming the first Group-N APRC Champion. In 2001 he competes in the 6th round of the WRC, the Cyprus Rally. He joins the formidable Mitsubishi Works Team (Mitsubishi Marlboro Ralliart). Although it was his first European outing in the WRC, he managed to land 10th overall at one point during the event but unfortunately retired near the end. His efforts did not go unnoticed however and his talent and skill were highly praised. In April of 2002 he returns to Japan and becomes a member of Ralliart Inc. In order to gain further rally experience, he enters the 2nd round of the British Rally Championship, the Rally of Wales and finishes an impressive 7th overall.

Derek RINGER

Born 1956 in Glasgow, England.
Teams up with Katsuhiko Taguchi as co-driver from the 2000 Asia Pacific Rally Championship. Worked for many years as Colin McRae's co-driver. In 1995 he contributed to the 1995 WRC Driver's Championship victory.


Main Entry
No.
Driver
Co-Driver
Vehicle
Major Result
1
Karamjit SINGH
(Malaysia)
Allen OH
(Malaysia)
Proton Pert
(A)
'01 APRC Champion
'99-'01 APRC Champion Gr.N-category
'02 Production Car WRC 1st (after Rd.6)
3
Possum BOURNE
(New Zealand)
Mark STACEY
(Australia)
Subaru Impreza
(A)
'96-'01 Australian Rally Champion
'93,'94,'00 APRC Champion
4
Ed ORDYNSKI
(Australia)
Iain STEWART
(Australia)
Mitsubishi Lancer
(N)
Australia Rally victory Gr.N-category
(6times)
'90 Australian Rally Champion
5
Nico CALDAROLA
(Italia)
Giovanni AGNESE
(Italia)
Mitsubishi Lancer
(N)
'99 Italian Rally Championship 3rd
'01 APRC Champion 2nd overall
7
Marcos LIGATO
(Argentina)
Ruben GARCIA
(Argentina)
Mitsubishi Lancer
(N)
'01 Production Car WRC 4th overall
9
V.R. Narren KUMAR
(India)
Dorairaj RAMKUMAR
(India)
Mitsubishi Lancer
(N)
'99,'00 Indian Rally Champion
10
Andrew HAWKESWOOD
(New Zealand)
Glenn MACNEALL
(Australia)
Mitsubishi Lancer
(A)
'01 Rotorua Rally 2nd overall
11
Reece JONES
(New Zealand)
Jeff JUDD
(New Zealand)
Mitsubishi Lancer
(N)
'95,'97 New Zealander Rally Champion
15
Jean-Louis LEYRAUD
(France)
Rob SCOTT
(New Zealand)
Mitsubishi Lancer
(N)
'01 Nouvelle Caledonie Rally Champion
18
Brian GREEN
(New Zealand)
Jane MCKAY
(New Zealand)
Mitsubishi Lancer
(A)
'01 New Zealander Rally Champion
Gr.A-category
20
Norberto CANGANI
(Italia)
Eros DI PRIMA
(Italia)
Mitsubishi Lancer
(N)
Enter '02 Production Car WRC

No.
Driver
Co-Driver
Vehicle
Major Result
2
TAGUCHI Katsuhiko Derek RINGER
(Great Britain)
Mitsubishi Lancer
(A)
'99 APRC Champion
'99 APRC Champion Gr.N-category
6
NUTAHARA Fumio HAYASHI Satoshi Mitsubishi Lancer
(N)
'99,'00 Japanese Rally Champion
Class C -category
'01 North Attack Rally victory
8
TAJIMA Nobuhiro Julia RABBETT
(Australia)
Suzuki Ignis
(A)
APRC2 2-Litter Cup Champion (5 times)
12
KAMATA Takuma HIRUTA Mitsuhiko Mitsubishi Lancer
(N)
'01 Japanese Rally Championship
8th overall Class C -category
14
MASUMURA Atsushi ENDO Akira Mitsubishi Lancer
(N)
'01 Hokkaido Rally 2nd overall
'01 Alpine Rally 2nd overall
16
AYABE Mitsuo ICHINO Hakaru Subaru Impreza
(A)
'01 Japanese Rally Champion
17
KATSUTA Norihiko YAMAMOTO Mitsuhiro Subaru Impreza
(A)
'01 Alpine Rally 3rd overall
'01 Japanese Rally Championship
4th overall
Class C-category
19
YANAGISAWA Hiroshi MISAIZU Tadashi Subaru Impreza
(A)
'02 North Attack Rally 3rd overall
'01 Japanese Rally Championship
9th overall Class C-category
22
TAKAKUWA Haruo Paul FLINTOFT
(Australia)
Subaru Impreza
(N)
'02 Rotorua Rally 4th overall Gr.N
23
AWAZUHARA Yutaka TAKAHASHI Akihiko Suzuki Ignis
(A)
Japanese Dart Trial Champion CI
Class-category(8times)
29
FUKUNAGA Osamu NAKAGAWA Masahiro Mitsubishi Lancer
(N)
'01 Japanese Rally Championship
10th overall
Class C CI Class-category
32
TAGUCHI Yukihiro ODAGIRI Noriyuki Mitsubishi Lancer
(N)
'01 Japanese Rally Championship
7th overall
Class C CI Class-category
35
NIWA Hiromichi YASUE Teruaki Mitsubishi Lancer
(N)
Enter '01 New Zealand Rally WRC



ITINERARY

Thursday 5 September
Time
Location
GMT+9

19:00

Start
Ceremonial start in Kita Aikoku
20:00
Finish


SS Totals = 260.66 km
Rally Totals = 1077.62 km

1st LEG Fraiday 6 September
SS(5) dist.=72.81km / Total dist.=301.31km
Time
SS/Location
Distance
8:00
Start:Kita Aikoku
9:31
SS1 Kunneywa
8.54km
9:51
SS2 Tanner
27.28km
13:11
SS3 Kunneywa
8.54km
13:31
SS4 Tanner
27.28km
15:04
SS5 Tokapci
1.17km

16:04

Finish:Kita Aikoku


2nd LEG Saturday 7 September
SS(8) dist.=107.96km / Total dist.=521.05km

Time
SS/Location
Distance
6:00
Start:Kita Aikoku
9:05
SS6 Merayke
14.69km
9:45
SS7 Noiker
20.83km
10:24
SS8 Sipirkakim
14.95km
11:39
SS9 Rikubetsu
3.51km
13:03
SS10 Merayke
14.69km
13:43
SS11 Noiker
20.83km
14:22
SS12 Sipirkakim
14.95km
15:37
SS13 Rikubetsu
3.51km
18:43
Finish:Kita Aikoku

3rd LEG Sunday 8 September
SS(7) dist.=79.89km / Total dist.=255.26km

Time
SS/Location
Distance
6:00
Start:Kita Aikoku
7:13
SS14 Pirka Okkay
15.14km
7:35
SS15 PirkaMenoko
14.37km
8:06
SS16 Kimunkur
9.85km
10:29
SS17 Pirka Okkay
15.14km
10:51
SS18 Pirka Menoko
14.37km
11:22
SS19 Kimunkur
9.85km
13:10
SS20 Tokapci
1.17km
14:18
Finish:Obihiro


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