The World Rally Championship heads to Japan this weekend for the final round of 2022 with nothing but pride to race for, with both championships already decided. The 10-year wait for WRC to return to Japan in 2020 was ultimately delayed as the event became a casualty of the pandemic, and the sense of anticipation is even higher now amongst the passionate local fans cheering on Toyota.
This weekend the Gravel Notes podcast is in to Japan with Autosport’s Tom Howard as the previous gravel roads of Japan make way for 19 new twisty tarmac stages which will prove one of the toughest challenges of the year.
On a new edition of the podcast, Tom previews the weekend action following Thursday’s shakedown and first stage, which saw Sebastien Ogier narrowly beat M-Sport’s Craig Breen by just 0.1 seconds, with Hyundai’s Ott Tanak another tenth of a second behind.
Tom also talks about WRC’s silly season with Esapekka Lappi expected to join Hyundai to replace Tanak, with the Estonian facing a year on the side-lines without a drive in 2023.
There is also still plenty to fight for in WRC2 with a three-way fight for the drivers title.