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The entry-list for Japan’s round of the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship, the Rally of Hokkaido has been bolstered by seven local drivers registering for the series.
This follows a change in the regulations that enable competitors to register and enter a single event in the APRC calendar, where previously the minimum number was at least three.
The ‘Street Life Team’ are the biggest new entrant with three of their drivers registering including the very fast Eiichi Iwashita. The Mitsubishi driver finished 5th overall 2016 and was running fourth overall in 2017 until mechanical dramas forced a withdrawal late on Day 1.
Spokes-man and co-driver for the Street Life Rally Team, Takumi Takahashi commented:
“We respect APRC as an FIA Regional Rally Championship and want to register all of three drivers as APRC drivers. Even though we register only three drivers for our budget, we are proud to participate in APRC Rally Hokkaido as APRC registered competitors. The revised APRC registration regulation is very good for many Japanese.”
Other Street Life team drivers are Masaki Yamada and Takashi Mori.
Atsushi Masumura adds his name to the list and is no stranger to international competition having been a regular entrant over the past 15 years at the Australian APRC and WRC events.
Hasepro Rally team driver Tomohide Hasegawa is another with extensive international experience having previously registered and competed at APRC events in Malaysia, China and Japan.
The Immen’s Team has registered and entered Mitsuhiro Aoki who will be managed by 2015 APRC Asia Cup winner Hitoshi Takayama.
With these new entries, Japan has nine drivers entered in the APRC with Fuyuhiko Takahashi and current driver’s championship points leader Yuya Sumiyama, registering at the start of the season.
APRC Team’s Murray Brown said: “This is fantastic news for Rally Hokkaido. This confirms the respect these Japanese competitors have for Rally Hokkaido and for the Asia Pacific Championship. The small change to regulations now allows this to happen. It’s definitely a win-win situation for competitors, Rally Hokkaido and APRC."
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