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Kenjiro Shinozuka

Kenjiro Shinozuka (篠塚 建次郎, Shinozuka Kenjirō, born November 20, 1948 in Ōta, Tokyo) is a Japanese rally driver. Since his debut in 1967, his greatest successes have been as a works driver for Mitsubishi Motors. Behind the wheel of a Galant VR-4 he won the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship in 1988 and scored consecutive victories in the Rallye Côte d'Ivoire Bandama in 1991 and 1992, when it was a round of the World Rally Championship, making him the first Japanese competitor to win a WRC event.[1] He is also of note for his success in the Dakar Rally, where he became the first Japanese winner of the world's most famous endurance rally in 1997 driving a Mitsubishi Pajero.[2]

Kenjiro Shinozuka
Personal information
NationalityJapan Japanese
Born (1948-11-20) 20 November 1948 (age 70)
World Rally Championship record
Active years1976–1997
Co-driverUnited Kingdom John Meadows
Finland Pentti Kuukkala
New Zealand Fred Gocentas
TeamsMitsubishi Motors
Rallies20
Rally wins2
Podiums3
Stage wins3
Total points88
First rally1976 Safari Rally
First win1991 Rallye Côte d'Ivoire
Last win1992 Rallye Côte d'Ivoire
Last rally1997 Rally Australia

Shinozuka resigned from Mitsubishi in 2002,[3] but continued to compete. He drove a Nissan pickup in the 2003 Dakar, but after hitting a sand dune he rolled his vehicle several times, enduring severe facial injuries and being placed in a coma. His co-driver Thierry Delli-Zotti suffered fractures to both his legs, although unlike Shinuzoka his injuries were not life-threatening.[4]

Shinuzoka announced before the 2006 event that it would be his final appearance as a competitor, saying "[m]y decision has been taken: it’s my last Dakar. But I still hope to enjoy myself one last time behind the steering wheel. To win? No, that’s not my goal. After that, I don’t yet know what I’ll do but I do know that we need new talents in Japan. Just look at our drivers, they're all sixty or over, like Asaga san or Sugawara san… So I might help out in finding new promising competitors for the future."[5] However, despite this, he returned for the 2007 Dakar, again driving a Nissan, and finished in 59th place out of the 109 cars that finished the race.

WRC victoriesEdit

 #  Event Season Co-driver Car
1   23ème Rallye Côte d'Ivoire Bandama 1991 John Meadows Mitsubishi Galant VR-4
2   24ème Rallye Côte d'Ivoire Bandama 1992 John Meadows Mitsubishi Galant VR-4

Dakar Rally resultsEdit

Year Class Vehicle Result Stages
1986 Car   Mitsubishi 46th 0
1987 3rd 1
1988 2nd 0
1989 6th 1
1990 5th 2
1991 DNF 1
1992 3rd 1
1993 5th 0
1994 DNF 0
1995 3rd 0
1996 17th 1
1997 1st 3
1998 2nd 4
1999 4th 3
2000 DNF 1
2001 30th 0
2002 3rd 1
2003   Nissan DNF 1
2004 DNF 1
2005 DNF 0
2006   Nissan DNF 0
2007 59th 0

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ History of Galant VR-4 Archived 2006-04-09 at the Wayback Machine, Mitsubishi Motors website
  2. ^ 1997 Dakar-Agades-Dakar, Mitsubishi Motors website
  3. ^ "Mitsubishi Motors' Kenjiro Shinozuka resigns", Ralliart.com press release, June 13, 2002
  4. ^ "Rally driver escapes with his life", Taipei Times, January 11, 2003
  5. ^ "Kenjiro Shinozuka: "It’s my last Dakar!", Dakar.com official website

External linksEdit

Sporting positions
Preceded by
inaugural
Asia-Pacific Rally Champion
1989
Succeeded by
Rod Millen
Preceded by
Pierre Lartigue
Dakar Rally
Car Winner

1997
Succeeded by
Jean-Pierre Fontenay