Kenjiro Shinozuka

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Kenjiro Shinozuka
Personal information
Nationality Japan Japanese
Born (1948-11-20) 20 November 1948 (age 68)
World Rally Championship record
Active years 1976–1997
Co-driver United Kingdom John Meadows
Finland Pentti Kuukkala
New Zealand Fred Gocentas
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 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]

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

Dakar Rally results[edit]

Year Class Vehicle Result Stages
1986 Car Japan 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 Japan Nissan DNF 1
2004 DNF 1
2005 DNF 0
2006 Japan Toyota DNF 0
2007 59th 0


  1. ^ History of Galant VR-4, Mitsubishi Motors website
  2. ^ 1997 Dakar-Agades-Dakar, Mitsubishi Motors website
  3. ^ "Mitsubishi Motors' Kenjiro Shinozuka resigns", 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!", official website

External links[edit]

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

Succeeded by
Jean-Pierre Fontenay