The organisers of the Rally Japan have had to alter the itinerary for Friday's opening day due to heavy snowfall.

As a result the 13.67 kilometre Isepo test, which was to have run as SS3 and SS7, has been axed.

A statement from the clerk of the course read: "Due to abnormal weather and resulting deterioration of the road, SS3/7 is cancelled for safety reasons.

"TC3/7 will be relocated to Road Book Day 1 box 33, page 24 and 66. Crews will follow the alternate route from Day 1 Road Book Alternate Route page 4, commencing at box 8 from the left. The total distance from TC3/7 to TC4/8 will now be 22.85km.

"The times allowed will not change - i.e. 60 minutes and 43 minutes respectively."

Speaking in the pre-event press conference, prior to confirmation SS3/7 had been cancelled, Citroen's Sebastien Loeb said that it would be not be possible to do the Isepo test with gravel tyres if there was snow.

"If the conditions are not usable then yes [SS3/7 will have to be cancelled], I think we cannot do anything else," he said. "If there is snow on the road you cannot go through the stage on gravel tyres."

Another change meanwhile has also been made to the final leg on Sunday, with the Sikot test - ran as SS23 and SS28 - shortened ever so slightly from 27.76 kilometres to 27.29 kilometres. This is because the final 500 metres became heavily rutted following the reconnaissance.

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