Rally Japan reveals 2021 plan in promotional event

Next year's returning WRC fixture will feature a route very similar to the one planned for 2020

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It wasn’t the World Rally Championship Saturday that Aichi has planned, but at least there were rally cars in Nagoya City last weekend.

Last week should have marked the WRC’s first visit to Japan since Sébastien Ogier’s Sapporo success a decade ago. But COVID-19 put paid to that.

Unwilling to let the week go without some sense of occasion, the organizers of Rally Japan ran a promotional event in Nagoya, launching the 2021 event which will run in November next year.

At start of Saturday’s event – held at MITSUKOSHI mae HIROBAs, Sakae, Nagoya City – the Rally Japan Executive Committee chairman Koji Takahashi outlined plans for 2021.

Toyota Gazoo Racing’s replica Yaris WRC was present at the launch, along with Subaru’s 2008 Impreza WRC and a Group A Mitsubishi Lancer.

Takahashi said the 2021 rally’s itinerary will bear a striking resemblance to the one planned for last week.

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After a ceremonial start in Nagoya on Thursday November 11, the all-asphalt action runs across the following three days in the Aichi and Gifu prefectures.

In Aichi, the cities of Okazaki, Toyota, Shinshiro, Nagakute – along with Shitara town – will be used. In Gifu, the cars will compete in Ena and Nakatsugawa. The superspecial stage will remain in Ai-Chikyu-haku Memorial Park (also known as Morikoro Park) in Nagakute City, between Nagoya and Toyota. The service park moves to the Toyota Stadium in Toyota city.

Takahashi said: “With the co-operation of the host municipalities, we will try to organize a great event. In that way, more people can watch Rally Japan, experience the real charm of the rally and enjoy the thrill that the international event will bring. We promise to make next year’s event a success with the understanding and support of everyone.”

The governor of Aichi, Hideaki Ohmura added: “Motorsport is a part of the culture of automobiles. We want to boost motorsport from Aichi prefecture, where is the centre of the world largest automobile industry. As I think there is such a mission, I would like to liven up Rally Japan 2021 with everyone.”