JSR: Final battle for championship


International Class of Rally Hokkaido is not only a battle for Asia Cup and APRC, but also the final round of Japan Super Rally series. The series began with International Rally of Tsumagoi in snow, followed by Montre, y which was also the first round of FIA APRC Asia Cup, competed on car-breaking rough gravel. The third round was Yokote Rally. Overall point leader is Yasushi Aoyama, who won the first round despite of multiple damages/problems with his Subaru WRX STI. The driver who follows him only1 point behind is Mike Young, who is quite familiar with this rally. Young is driving brand new Toyota C-HR ralloy car developed by Cusco, making a debut event for the car. The performance of this new car is still yet to be known. Co-driving with Aoyama is Taku Iseya, for the first time in this series, but Young is also with a new co-driver for this series, Glenn Macneall. So there are several unknown factors in their battle.

Co-drvier’s battle is a bt more complicated. Noriko Takeshita, who co-drove Aoyama on the 1st and 3rd round, is coupled with Nao Otake, so the co-driver’s overall point leader is Malcom Read, co-driver for Mike Young. However, Read is not able to compete Rally Hokkaido this he is finishing the series with 74 points. Takeshita is chasing him with 63 points, and thus she needs to gain 11 points to win the title. As long as Otake/Takeshita finishes the rally they will gain 13 points, thus Takeshita will win the championship if they successfully finish the rally. If not, Read will win the series.

2WD class has only 3 drivers listed, and each of them did only 1 round. The leader is Suguru Kawana (31 points), followed by Heikki Kovalainen (25 points), but neither of them do the Rally Hokkaido. Yuki Kohama comes 3rd with 20 points, and he will do the Rally Hokkaido. Another 2WD class driver completing JSR in Rally Hokkaido is Nao Otake, who do not posesses any points. As long as he finishes the rally, additional 24 points is guaranteed for Kohama, which wins him a title of 2WD champion. But in case if he fails to finish the rally, winner will be Otake (assuming he finishes the rally) with 32 or 31 points (depending on a leg point for Leg 2), pushing him up to the point leader/co-leader position. So, both of them have to finish the rally to seize the title.
Co-drivers point standings for 2WD class is in the same condition – Megumi Fujita, co-driver for Kohama, posesses 20 points and Takeshita has nil before the Rally Hokkaido.

The 3rd class of JSR is Production car class. Aoyama is leading the point standings with 90 points, and his title is already confirmed as the 2nd leader (Shigeyuki Konishi) has only 32 points. Takeshita has also confirmed her co-driver champion title on the production class with her 71 points, leaving 39 points gap with Tsung Yu Hsieh.

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