Rally Japan bosses believe running the Asia Pacific championship-counting Rally Hokkaido next year will keep their organising team match fit in the event of them securing a WRC slot in 2012.
Japan returns to the world championship this week for the first time since 2008 but it is facing an uncertain future after being left off the schedule next season, despite the country’s desire to host the global series on an annual basis.
Rally Japan chief Dmitry Krivtsov also said the APRC round, which is scheduled to run in October 2011, could appear on the Intercontinental Rally Challenge calendar although he conceded that possibility remained “very undecided”.
“The worst thing about running every second year is we lose people, we lose sponsors and we lose all the licences and permissions we get from the government,” said Krivtsov. “Once there is a gap people go on and do stuff in their lives. But the core of the team is the same because running the Asia Pacific event will keep people busy and that’s very important.”
Krivstov said the APRC round will continue to be centred in Obihiro, 160 kilometres north of the WRC event base in Sapporo but said moving the WRC round back to Obihiro would be logistically advantageous but less so from a commercial stand point.