Forum8 Rally Japan Neuville Leads After Day One

November 16, 2023Joe Moore

The first day of Forum8 Rally Japan has come to an end. Thierry Neuville leads the rally after the day’s lone stage. 


Thierry Neuville topped the shakedown stage. Posting a time 1.4 seconds faster than Elfyn Evans. Sebastien Ogier and Takamoto finished third fastest, 0.2 seconds slower than their Toyota teammate Evans. 2023 World Rally Champion Kalle Rovanperä set the fourth fastest time, 0.1 seconds slower than Ogier and Katsuta. Esapekka Lappi rounded out the top five times on the shakedown stages, finishing 0.2 seconds slower than Rovanperä. 

SSS1, Toyota Stadium

Thierry Neuville also took home the stage win on the first stage of Forum8 Rally Japan. Setting a time 0.7 seconds faster than Esapekka Lappi to win the stage. Ott Tänak finished third fastest, 0.7 seconds slower than Lappi. Dani Sordo posted the fourth fastest time, 0.4 seconds slower than Tänak. Takamoto Katsuta rounded out the top five, finishing 1.3 seconds slower than Sordo. 

Toyota Struggles 

The first stage was a difficult one for Toyota’s drivers. As none of them finished top three or even close to the top three on the stage. Takamoto Katsuta was the closest, finishing 1.7 seconds behind third. This may seem small, but on a SuperSpecial stage that’s a fair bit of time. Moreover, the drivers you expect to be running near the top for Toyota finished at least 2.6 seconds behind third. This is time that could be the difference between winning and losing the rally. Why did they lose so much time? The exact answer to this isn’t known. Kalle Rovanperä said the car was difficult to control. The tightness of the SuperSpecial stage could be the reason for this. As the Toyota’s do well at speed on open roads, not in tight spaces. 

What To Expect From Forum8 Rally Japan Day Two

The second day of Forum8 Rally Japan will see drivers contest seven special stages, totalling to 133.26 km. This includes two loops of three stages totalling to 65.58 km each loop. The seventh stage will be the SuperSpecial stage at the Toyota Stadium. The same stage ran today. Drivers will have a service at the end of each loop.