Kenjiro Shinozuka, Japan's most distinguished rally driver and the first to win the Paris-Dakar Rally, will resign from Mitsubishi Motors Corporation on July 10, at the age of 53.

Motor sports staff in Mitsubishi Motors and Ralliart Inc. had been discussing a new role with him since the Italian Baja Rally, a round of FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies, in March this year. The new position would have made full use of his wealth of experience, his achievements over many years and his focus on safety measures. A change from being a works driver to a supporting role in rally team management was also discussed. However, Mitsubishi Motors has decided to honour his personal wish "to continue as a driver in the sport," which has led to his retirement from Mitsubishi by mutual agreement.

Kenjiro Shinozuka’s career

Born November 20, 1948, in Ota Ward, Tokyo Employed by Mitsubishi Motors in 1971. In addition to his work in advertising, sales, product planning and overseas affairs, Shinozuka won the Ivory Coast Rally, a round of the World Rally Championship, in 1991 and 1992, and also became the first Japanese driver to win the coveted Paris-Dakar Rally in 1997.

His career covered a wide range of events in Japan and overseas. In 2000, he was transferred to the French Branch Office of MMSE (Mitsubishi Motor Sales Europe B. V) in order to concentrate his efforts on the Paris-Dakar Rally, as well as other cross-country events. He finished third overall in the 2002 Paris-Dakar Rally.

Kenjiro Shinozuka' s comments:

"Hiroshi Masuoka has developed as a part of the Mitsubishi team. While the team has suggested that a new position be taken in a team managerial job, I would like to pursue new possibilities as a driver and this has led to this decision- I would like to continue the challenge in life that I've set myself."

Published : 11/06/02 Author : Melanie Carter

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