Rally Japan

Rally Japan 2022: Here Is The Plan For The Final Challenge

Toyota Gazoo Racing rally driver Takamoto Katsuta is glad to compete in his homeland for the FIA WRC FORUM8 Rally Japan 2022. And Toyota is also joining in the happy feelings as we approach the team’s base in Aichi. Your destination is Toyota Stadium, not just yours. Thousands of fans are expected to show their support for the local hero. It’s more than just greeting Katsuta. It’s about a local legendary brand with an amazing history. It makes more sense when this brand is the championship-winning manufacturer Toyota. And even though we skipped the cherry blossoms, we have something really interesting to see this weekend. Take your free seat, let’s dive into the plan.

Welcome to the FORUM8 Rally Japan 2022.

When you last stopped in this area with the FIA WRC championship it was so long ago that rally cars were almost in a different era. The rally debuted in 2004 and was held until 2007. While the last stop was in 2010. The WRC Japanese round was supposed to return in 2020, but has been postponed repeatedly due to the COVID19 pandemic. However, the time has come and Rally Japan runs under a brand-new format today.

Rally Japan route

Everything is different now.

Back in 2010, the Japanese WRC favored the gravel format. The trip took place on the northern island of Hokkaido.

This year you will be bringing on the asphalt with brand-new stages. Tricky roads will keep you on your toes through demanding special stages in the mountain regions of Gifu and Aichi. The destination is located about three hours’ drive from Tokyo.

Brand new roads, stages and a brand-new base for a new era of Rally 1 cars. A newly packaged Japanese challenge. Is there anything you would like to see more of?

Although you will make a pleasing visual impression, our brave drivers will not be able to enjoy such luxury, as there will be no time to rest. There is an urgent goal – to develop pace notes for Rally Japan. Most success depends on it.

FORUM 8 Rally Japan 2022 schedule and route.

For three years in a row, organizers have been preparing for Rally Japan. Consequently, the event should be flawless, where everything is thought out in detail. The route is no exception.

Rally Japan 2022 will take place on asphalt, where Toyota Stadium hosts the service park or more appropriately, the epicentre of the destination map. So move on.

You start Thursday evening with a ceremonial start. However, but wait. That isn’t going to be evening at all due to the time difference! Be aware that Japan is in the GMT+9 time zone.

Rally Japan 2022

The time difference makes you a bit confused!

Rally Japan 2022 will be a night racing experience for European fans, as well as a deep night party for rally fans in the United States. Hello to the midnighters!

Starting Thursday at 9AM in Europe, 3AM in the USA, the start ceremony will be followed by a 2.75km curtain-raiser in Kuragaike Park. We guarantee you will see hundreds of rally fans cheering in your direction. Do not forget a cup of coffee.

Friday’s clock alarm will ring off early in Japan, so instead of rushing to bed like the rally drivers, you will need to prepare for a long party.

Friday’s opening leg is the longest of the rally – bringing the daily total to 132.97km.132.97km. Thiery Neuville, Ott Tänak, Sébastien Ogier, Takamoto Katsuta, Kalle Rovanperä and others show us three separate stages: Isegami’s Tunnel (23.29 km) and Shitara Town (22.44 km) and then Abu Dam (19.38km).

The WRC Rally Japan 2022 Friday starts on Thursday at 5PM in the USA and at 11PM in Europe and finishes on Friday morning.

Same plans are for Saturday. Nukata Forest (20.56km) and Lake Mikawako (14.74km) are driven in the morning. And the single run through Shinshiro City (7.08km). You will pass through Okazaki City SSS (1.40km) twice. This means that the WRC Rally Japan starts on Friday at 5pm in the USA and at 11pm in Europe, and finishes Saturday morning.

Just no time to sleep.

Final Sunday held five stages with no room for mistakes. Just no opportunity for service. Asahi Kougen (7.52km) opens proceedings and is followed by Ena City (21.59 km). Next stop is Nenoue Plateau (11.60km) and Ena City with Asahi Kougen.

The schedule is the same: starting on Saturday evening and ending on Sunday morning. Here are details.

Thiery Neuville ahead of Rally Japan

Rally Japan 2022 schedule (local time)

SS3 INABU DAM 108:00
SS6 INABU DAM 214:29
SS13 & 14 OKAZAKI CITY 1 & 215:35
SS16 ENA CITY 109:10
SS18 ENA CITY 211:48
Timetable subject to change

The forecast for Rally Japan 2022. Let’s take on some challenges!

Your rally weekend will be filled with the most ideal racing conditions. The sun will be cloudy, with fresh air with an average temperature of +20C during the day and +10C at night. We said most of the weekend, which means Sunday will be a challenging day for each driver. Or better to say Sunday will be an endurance test.

The probability of rain is 85%, which equals 100%. Add to it that there is no service, and you come with the “no mistake” rule. Rally Japan on Sunday will feature a brand-new route, unpredictable weather, tyre strategy, and high speeds on asphalt.

However, that isn’t the only thing that makes FORUM8 Rally Japan worth watching.

Ott Tänak


There is so much news that we have prepared for you, that we are pulling these out one by one from our pocket. Let’s focus on the main storylines that everyone is excited about ahead of the night adventure in Aichi.

Key storylines and why it is worth it to watch Rally Japan 2022.

#1. Ott Tänak’s last rally with the Hyundai Motorsport team.

It’s heartbreaking to see Ott upset. There were so many dreams, goals, and plans that may have come true, but alas. In 2019, Tänak won his first WRC championship title with Toyota. His eyes were wide open when he decided to join Hyundai for 2020.

Three years have passed and he announced he was leaving the team for new challenges in his life. Ott Tänak was the only driver who could challenge Kalle Rovanperä for the WRC title in 2022. It was Rally Acropolis 2022, which marked the point of no return. Tänak needed to keep the team’s order to maintain his second spot after Thierry Neuville. Estonian driver was thus eliminated from the championship battle.

What are Ott Tanak’s plans for next season? It remains unclear what the future holds for the Estonian rally driver, despite rumors that he might join M-Sport Ford. Therefore, taking the podium in Japan would be another demonstration of how fast and competitive Tänak is.

Alongside with Ott Tänak Petter Solberg will also leave the Hyundai team in 2023. That is that. Let’s move on.

#2. Adrien Fourmaux has withdrawn from Rally Japan’s battle.

The talented rally driver lost such an amazing opportunity. His M-Sport team explained that the decision was due to a budgetary constraint. Adrien Fourmaux needs as much practice as possible. The positive part is that he has achieved positive results.

Vincent Landais and Pierre-Louis Loubet
Vincent Landais and Pierre-Louis Loubet

#3. Co-driver seats are switched.

Already two current rally drivers have changed co-drivers. Sébastien Ogier is the most prominent case. Eight-time world rally champion won Rally Catalunya 2022 and parted ways with Benjamin Veillas. Previously, Ogier had been rallying alongside Julien Ingrassia for more than 16 years. Villas took over the place in 2022.

However, Rally Japan will be crucial for Vincent Landais. You never know how it will turn out. Landais is the current co-driver of M-Sport Ford youngster Pierre-Louis Loubet. But he has to work with Sébastien Ogier! It will be very difficult to work at a Frenchman’s level because he’s so “champion”.

Ogier before Rally Japan

To be honest, we would be panicked at the thought of working with Ogier in the place of Vincent Landais. Our minds get confused between left and right instantly.

It would be too scary to make a mistake…

Although, who knows, it will be a miracle if Ogier and Vincent Landais win in Japan, no less. Otherwise we have to admit that he is a frigging genius at rally racing.

Another co-driver switch announced, and Craig Breen too. We have no doubts about the decision of the current M-Sport Ford driver. Our focus this week will be on Craig Breen and James Fulton, one of the main storylines of Rally Japan 2022.

Let’s wish them luck.

#4. Thierry Neuville is the flag bearer for Rally Japan.

Yes, it wasn’t an easy time for Hyundai Motorsport. Thierry Neuville is one of the key figures of the team in Aichi.

No time to think about the past, no memories to keep for the future. Only now and here in all of these senses. In this way, Thierry Neuville has called for Hyundai to show it is capable of winning to bring podiums to score points. Even though it is the final round of the FIA WRC 2022 season. Even rumors cloud the team’s image from too many directions. Right here, right now, no less than second place in Japan.

Thierry Neuville is capable of achieving that goal. And yes, we believe he hears our thoughts through the distance. Another crew we are focusing on is Thierry Neuville and Martijn Wydaeghe.

Heikki Kovalainen Rally Japan

#5. Real pro in the deal.

When was the last time you heard about Heikki Kovalainen? We met him ten or more years ago. Kovalainen is a famous former Formula 1 driver. You may wonder, but he won the Hungarian Grand Prix in 2008. He’d been racing in F1 for seven years. Finn had also raced in DTM.

As a real professional, a 40-year-old driver is competing in his first FIA World Rally Championship event at the wheel of a Skoda Fabia R5. Amazed? We do too.

Well, as you can see, there will be a long party. All the main battles for the manufacturers’ championship and drivers’ standings are finished. Already here in Japan you’re having some fun. Let’s conclude.

Aichi Japan

Sums up.

The conditions are set so that you can make the most of Rally Japan 2022. The organizers had almost three years to plan such an influential and highly anticipated rally event. On Thursday, thousands of rally fans gathered at Kuragaike Park to welcome Toyota and local hero Takamoto Katsuta.

Meanwhile, our schedule will be different as Japan is in the GMT+9 time zone. Please remember the time schedule and time difference as there will be a late night party all weekend long. But it is absolutely worth it, as there are already five key storylines to focus on.

Ott Tänak is preparing for the last rally with Hyundai. Thierry Neuville is fully responsible for the excellent results. Sébastien Ogier like Craig Breen made the switch to co-driver. No idea how it works with Craig Breen, but very worried about Vincent Landais as Ogier’s co-driver.
Former F1 driver and Hungarian GP 2008 winner Heikki Kovalainen is preparing for his debut in the WRC.

We’re sure this weekend will be fun. So let’s prepare too. Arigatou!

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