Akira Kawada (47) has regretfully resigned from his position in the Suzuki World Rally Team for personal reasons. Beginning with Rally Argentina and for the remainder of the 2008 season, his role as team manager will be taken over by Paul Wilding (39), long term associate of Suzuki Sport Japan.
Paul has a long history with Suzuki Sport having been involved in many of Suzuki's rally sport projects over many years, among them the chief coordination of Suzuki's debut year in the JWRC (2002), management of Suzuki's Asia-Pacific Rally Championship team (2002-2004) and the 2006 Suzuki JWRC team, team manager for multiple International Hill climb entries with the Suzuki WRC Team Principal, Nobuhiro 'Monster' Tajima, and numerous other rally specific advisory and assistance roles within the company over the past six years. His familiarity with the WRC, Suzuki Sport and its personnel, Japanese language skills and intimate understanding of Japanese culture and principals gained from experiences over the last 15 years will benefit the team greatly in their quest to complete their debut season in the WRC.
Akira Kawada joined the Suzuki World Rally Team at the end of 2007 and managed its entrance into the first full World Rally Championship season. "During our three debut events at Rallye Monte Carlo, Swedish Rally and Rally Mexico the team benefited greatly from Akira Kawada's wide WRC experience. We are very grateful for his contribution and his efforts", said team principal Nobuhiro Tajima. "It is unfortunate that for reasons personal to Kawada san and beyond our control we cannot continue our association with him for the remainder of the year. We wish him well in the future."
"It was quite a short association, but it was a great pleasure working with the team", stated Akira Kawada. For the remainder of the 2008 WRC season, he will return to his former occupation and work as a journalist again.
The entire Suzuki World Rally Team wishes him every success in his future endeavours.