World Rally-Raid Championship

FLEX SHOW AIKAWA Racing returning to Asia Cross Country Rally in 2024

1 Mins read
Credit: FLEX SHOW AIKAWA Racing

After last racing before COVID-19, Show Aikawa‘s FLEX SHOW AIKAWA Racing will make their return to the Asia Cross Country Rally in August. The team will field a Toyota Land Cruiser 150 Prado for himself and Masato Kawabata with Daychapong Toicharoen as co-driver.

Kawabata and Toicharoen currently compete in D1 Grand Prix, the former a three-time champion with titles in 2007, 2013, and 2015. Toicharoen hails from Thailand, where the AXCR takes place, but is fluent in Japanese. In 2023, Kawabata finished ninth in the top-level D1GP standings while Toicharoen raced a part-time schedule.

In 2019, Kawabata finished second overall in his AXCR début. AIKAWA Racing first appeared at the rally the year prior, finishing sixteenth with Aikawa, Kinya Miyamoto, and Takahiro Yasui.

Although they did not return to the AXCR after the onset of the pandemic, Aikawa kept the programme alive by competing in the XCR Sprint Cup and Rally Hokkaido, both of which Kawabata won in 2023. Aikawa himself also runs rallies in a Toyota Yaris from Toyota Gazoo Racing. Due to timing, the team will not be able to defend their Rally Hokkaido win, though Aikawa plans to field a second car in the future.

“It’s our first Asia Cross Country Rally in five years, so both Kawabata and I are very excited and looking forward to it,” said Aikawa. “We believe that we will make up for the humiliation of 2019 and win our class.”

Students from Chuo Automobile College in Chiba Prefecture as well as mechanics from team title sponsor FLEX will provide technical service for the Land Cruiser. Toyo Tires returns as a team partner while TONOX is assisting in reducing the vehicle’s weight.

Aikawa starred in a variety of films, particularly from the action, horror, and yakuza genres, during the 1990s and 2000s. He portrayed the titular hero in the Zebraman series and starred in most horror movies directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa like Pulse, Serpent’s Path, and the Suit Yourself or Shoot Yourself TV film series. His latest film Voice premiered in February.

The 2024 Asia Cross Country Rally will take place on 11–17 August; it starts in Surat Thani, Thailand, and will conclude in Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur. Toyota is the reigning race winner.

Avatar photo
3653 posts

About author
Justin is not an off-road racer, but he writes about it for The Checkered Flag.
Articles
Related posts
World Rally-Raid Championship

2024 Asia Cross Country Rally cancels Malaysia stretch, staying in Thailand

2 Mins read
Due to “safety reasons” reportedly pertaining to the border, the Asia Cross Country Rally will remain exclusively in Thailand for 2024 instead of crossing into Malaysia as planned.
DakarWorld Rally-Raid Championship

Manuel Andujar skipping Morocco and Dakar 2025, open to SSV

1 Mins read
With the death of the Quad class for the 2025 Dakar Rally, defending winner Manuel Andújar will not take part in another category, though he is interested in racing an SSV in the future.
World Rally-Raid Championship

Gert Duson: 2024 Morocco Desert Challenge "a total difference from last year's unfortunate edition"

2 Mins read
After the 2023 Morocco Desert Challenge was marred by tragedy, a swath of safety requirements for the 2024 edition proved to be the right call, and director Gert Duson couldn’t have asked for anything else.