The 20th Asia Cross Country Rally was held from August 8 to 14. The participation of major Japanese rally drivers was notable this year.
The most notable among these rally drivers was Kenjiro Shinozuka. With Eiji Chiba as his co-driver, the rally legend and former Dakar winner Shinozuka participated in a Suzuki Jimny (1.6-liter engine specification). He had good results despite this being his first participation in this rally, placing 2nd in the overall and 1st in the T1G Class.
Meanwhile, Ikuo Hanawa, known for his participation in Pikes Peak and Baja 2000, participated in the 30th Anniversary Edition of the Toyota FJ Cruiser prepared by the 4WD parts manufacturer JAOS. Representing JAOS, Daijiro Akahoshi joined him as his co-driver. They fell behind in the third leg and had machine trouble in the fourth leg, placing them 8th in the overall and 2nd in the T1G Class. Japanese drivers occupied the top six of the T1G Class.
Takuma Aoki, who previously participated in the Asia Cross Country Rally, participated again this year in an Isuzu Mu-X. A former GP rider, he now participates as a GT driver. Although his machine’s condition was good in the first half of the rally, he was weighed down by road conditions and going the wrong route. And in the second half, he had some mechanical issues with the steering. Despite that, his results were not bad.
Toshihiro Arai participated in a Isuzu D-Max. He was plagued with machine issues since he participated using a locally rented machine. He persevered each day because his machine had to be repaired daily.He placed 25th in the overall and 17th in the class.
(Translated by Katherine N. Bantiles)