Sumiyama and the Cusco team also wrapped up the manufacturer’s title for Skoda, the team’s Cup and the Wurth Cup.
Driving a Cusco Skoda Fabia R5, Sumiyama led from stage 2 and after the retirement of his New Zealand team-mate Mike Young, was never challenged building a 9-minute lead over the 2-day event held on the fast gravel roads near the city of Obihiro.
A steady approach through the rough roads on day 1 paid off for Yasushi Aoyama who was able to increase pace on Day 2 in his Cusco Subaru Impreza, securing 3rd overall and the final spot on the podium.
Sumiyama’s main challenger for the APRC driver’s title Italian Fabio Frisiero was having his first experience of Hokkaido’s very technical roads and he was never able to keep pace with the Skoda driver. However, with a controlled and sensible drive Frisiero bought his AP4 Peugeot 208 home 4th overall.
Other leading retirements were Atushi Masamura with a broken turbo, Tomehide Hasegawa electrical problems and Malaysian A K Mustaffa crashing off and hitting a tree.
The next Asia-Pacific championship event is the China Rally 20-22 October.