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With the ex­pected re­turn of the World Rally Cham­pi­onship (WRC) to Ja­pan next year, Toy­ota Mo­tor Cor­po­ra­tion pres­i­dent Akio Toy­oda has been quoted as stat­ing that he hopes that it will en­tice both Mit­subishi and Subaru back to the se­ries. The three mar­ques spent the bet­ter part of the ’90s and the 2000s com­pet­ing in the WRC, claim­ing the top-three po­si­tions in the Man­u­fac­tur­ers’ Cham­pi­onship stand­ings in ’98 and ’99. Toy­ota would switch its fo­cus to For­mula 1 from then, with Mit­subishi with­draw­ing ahead of the 2006 sea­son and Subaru pulling the plug on its long-run­ning af­fil­i­a­tion with the se­ries in 2008. It wasn’t for an­other eight sea­sons that a Ja­panese man­u­fac­turer could be found in WRC, when Toy­ota re­joined for 2017.

“Toy­ota is the only [Ja­panese man­u­fac­turer] par­tic­i­pat­ing in the WRC, we used to have Mit­subishi and Subaru with us,” said Toy­oda. “Many fans re­mem­ber Toy­ota, Subaru, and Mit­subishi and I hope the WRC com­ing to Ja­pan will stim­u­late not only Toy­ota, but all the man­u­fac­tur­ers — we would like to see them back.

“I want to sup­port this [re­turn]. This is what Ga­zoo Rac­ing is about — we are not only think­ing about Toy­ota; we are work­ing for the good of the sport.”

If the can­di­date event in Novem­ber proves fruit­ful, Rally Ja­pan is likely to re­turn to the WRC next year for the first time since 2010. The event would run on Ja­pan’s main is­land of Hon­shu, two hours away from Tokyo, and an all-as­phalt route would in­clude a mix­ture of high-speed and tech­ni­cal stages.

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