Snow start for APRC 2023

The 2023 season’s opening round of the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship put locals Takuma Kamada and Yuichi Matsumoto to the top of the standings after a shortened snow based International Rally of Tsumagoi.

Run from 3 – 5 February it became an even shorter event than the originally planned shortened schedule – with an added directive to close spectating areas due to the spread of COVID-19.

Unique dispensation was sought by the all-snow event to run the lower competition special stage distance of 91km. Unfortunately mild weather reduced the snow base of two special stages – which would have required alternating tyre and car setup.

Osamu Fukunaga, Tsumagoi 2023
The remaining special stages varied in distance from 7.67km to 2.38km. The short-sharp competition contested multiple runs of the same road – with the snow/ice conditions remaining consistent.
Toshihiro Arai, Tsumagoi 2023
Starting with eleven cars – including the Australian entry of Wayne Stewart and Lucas Zinsstag (Subaru WRX), ten made it to the finish. Stewart finished in eighth.

Due to the reduction in competition only half points could be allocated to the finishers – toward both the Asia and Pacific Cups – a sub title to the overall championship crown.

2023 International Rally of Tsumagoi – APRC
1. T. Kamada / Y Matsumoto (Jpn), Subaru Wrx, 46:24.0
2. Ofukunaga/msaida (Jpn), Skoda Fabia R5, +23.0
3. T Arai / K Kofuji (Jpn), Subaru Wrx, +17.9

Images courtesy of Rally of Tsumagoi