Co-ordSport’s lifelong friend, Tetsuo Shoji, has sadly passed away after a battle with cancer.
Japanese rally legend, Shoji-san and his firm Mole Engineering, worked closely with Tusk Engineering Co. Ltd. and their famous boss Ishiguro-san. They worked tirelessly together to produce outstanding results at home and overseas, with Team Advan-PIAA and Mitsubishi Ralliart, producing the best overseas results for Japanese drivers, in the early days of Group A & N rallying. From Lancers, to Starions, then Galant VR-4’s to Lancer Evo’s they competed at all levels, across Asia-Pacific and in Europe, achieving outstanding results, with strong engineering and great teamwork.
Co-ordSport was proud to be Tusk’s European base and UK co-ordinator, working closely with Ishiguro-san and Shoji-san. Shoji was a wonderfully warm hearted individual and his passion & enthusiasm were endless, whatever he did. His determination was rock solid, and that encouraged the whole team throughout vehicle and event preparations, event planning & recce, then the event; which was one of the pillars supporting their drivers to so many successes and achievements.
The pinacle for the team and Shoji-san had to be the African events – Safari and Ivory Coast rallies. The 1991 Rallye Cote d’Ivoire win by Kenjiro Shinozuka was the first World Rally Championship event win by a Japanese National. Shoji-san played a major role in those events, driving a recce car as a chase car, repairing and maintaining the rally car en-route. He supported the Team and Shinozuka to achieve a 5th overall in their first Safari Rally in 1990, a year when the event was so tough that only 10 cars reached the finish.
He will be sadly missed, but well remembered – very fond memories, a true Gent, fantastic colleague and a very good friend to many. Our thoughts are with his family, who he loved dearly, and their tragic loss.