Kenjiro Shinozuka

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Kenjiro Shinozuka
Personal information
Nationality Japan Japanese
Born (1948-11-20) November 20, 1948 (age 66)
World Rally Championship record
Active years 1976–1997
Teams Mitsubishi Motors
Rallies 20
Rally wins 2
Podiums 3
Stage wins 3
Total points 88
First rally 1976 Safari Rally
First win 1991 Rallye Côte d'Ivoire
Last win 1992 Rallye Côte d'Ivoire
Last rally 1997 Rally Australia

Kenjiro Shinozuka (篠塚 建次郎 Shinozuka Kenjirō?, born Ōta, Tokyo, November 20, 1948) 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]

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 Victories[edit]

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

References[edit]

  1. ^ History of Galant VR-4, 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 links[edit]

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