Yokohama Rubber to Support Toshi Arai and Fumio Nutahara in Intercontinental Rally Challenge in Europe



The Yokohama Rubber Co., Ltd., announced today that it will provide its ADVAN A006T (for tarmac) and ADVAN A053 (for gravel) rally tires in support of Mr. Toshi Arai and Mr. Fumio Nutahara in their participation in rallies in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC), which has been underway in Europe since January. Yokohama Rubber is endeavoring to improve recognition of its ADVAN rally tires in Europe by supporting proven drivers in highly popular rallies, looking forward to their finishing in the top rank.

Messrs. Arai and Nutahara will drive their SUBARU WRX STI spec Cs, developed by Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. in accordance with the new Group R4*, in order to enhance its car performance in the Group N category. A two-time winner of the FIA production car world rally championship, Mr. Arai will participate in five rounds starting with the third, Tour de Corse - E.Leclerc in France, to be held on May 12. Mr. Nutahara, who has won the Japanese Rally Championship nine times, will take part in three rounds starting with the sixth, Sata Rallye Acores in Portugal, scheduled for July 14.

Launched in 2007, IRC is a rally championship authorized by Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) and operated by Euro Sport, a sports TV network in Europe. All IRC rounds are televised live via satellite and cable. IRC is characteristically structured around traditional or significant rallies selected from among current rally championships in Europe. This year, 12 rounds, including world-renowned Rallye Monte-Carlo in Monaco and Tour de Corse in France, are included.

* Group R4: Allows the use of authorized kits so as to enhance the performance of cars in the Group N category, where conversions of commercially sold vehicles are strictly regulated (currently Fuji Heavy Industries is applying to FIA for official approval under the regulation). As a result, lighter vehicles, changes to suspensions and improved cooling systems are possible.