Rally Japan today released its pre-event information guide, Rally Guide 1. The event will be similar in structure to 2004, though with new stages to reduce the overall time of the route. The main challenge for the Organisers will be to repeat their success in providing a high level
of infrastructure to the increased numbers of competitors and spectators.
The majority of Special Stages will be to the northeast of Obihiro, the host city. Several new stages closer to the Service Park will break up the longer liaison times experienced in 2004. The ratio of harder surface, wide country roads to narrow forestry ones has also been increased.
A new stage, Sipirkakim which combines elements of both types of roads, has been reintroduced to the itinerary. This very challenging stage, featuring a winding downhill run of over ten kilometres with a stunning panoramic view, is sure to prove popular with both WRC drivers and spectators.
As in 2004, the 348 kilometres of Special Stages will conclude with Penke, the flowing, yet deceptive 28km length of road to the northwest of Obihiro.
Rally Headquarters will be at the Tokachi Plaza building that drew praise for its ultra modern layout and ease of access last year. It is situated immediately south of Obihiro Station, within walking distance of all major hotels and downtown nightspots.
The Service Park will be 6km south of Obihiro City at the Kita Aikoku Community Square where the re-designed layout and facilities will comfortably accommodate the full field of competitors. Rally fans are in for a treat, as this year there will be two more WRC Registered teams, Production Car World Rally Championship competitors plus top international and Japanese competitors.
Early indications are that the spectator numbers will increase by around fifty percent to an estimated 300,000. The charismatic performance of Subaru driver and last year's winner, Petter Solberg coupled with the first home appearance of the improving Mitsubishi squad will guarantee a large dose of rally fever infects the Japanese population this autumn.
In order to cater for extra teams and the expected increase in the number of spectators the Rally Japan organising team has been working non-stop. Its goal for 2005 is simple, to surpass its 2004 achievements in every area.
Round 13 of the FIA World Rally Championship, Rally Japan will, this year, also incorporate Round 7 of the Production Car World Rally Championship. It will be held on September 30 - October 2 in the Sub-prefecture of Tokachi on the island of Hokkaido.
Press Release Rally Japan