2003 ASIA PACIFIC RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP

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7 December 2003
2003 FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship / Round 5
MRF India Rally

MITSUBISHI CELEBRATES DOUBLE VICTORY

Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution
A. KREMER / F. BERSSEN
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution
A. KREMER / F. BERSSEN
Driving a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Vll, German Armin Kremer clinched both the overall and Production Class honours in the 2004 Asia Pacific Rally Championship, by finishing 2nd overall in the MRF India Rally.


Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution
A. KREMER / F. BERSSEN
Coming into the final round of the Asia Pacific Rally Championship, there were four drivers with a chance of taking the championship and three of them were driving Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Vll’s. Geoff Argyle from New Zealand headed the points race on 45 points, Kremer two points away on 43, Japan’s Fumio Nutahara with 37 points and last year’s APRC champion Malaysian Karamjit Singh further back on 34. With a maximum of 19 points on offer for a perfect run in India, any of the above drivers could take the overall title.

As it turned out it was an event full of drama, the result not finalized until the very last stage - and it was close - one point separating Kremer from event winner Singh. Adding to the tension were the rough roads, that took there toll with nearly half of the field not finishing.

At the end of the first day Kremer led the event from Singh, with Italian Domenico Caldarola third in a Top Run Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Vll. Victims of the first leg included Geof Argyle with shock absorber problems and punctures that dropped him as low as 10th. although he pulled that back to 6th at the end of day. At least he was still in with a chance though, as the other contender for the championship Fumio Nutahara crashed off the road after suspension problems.


Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution
D. CALDAROLA / P. CECCHINI
On the second leg Kremer eased off the pace, letting Singh into the lead, but content in the knowledge that he only needed to shadow Singh to take the championship win. It was not easy though as Kremer commented: "If I just need to finish in 2nd position it was easy, but I also needed to finish 2nd in the bonus points for each day - it meant I couldn’t back-off. With the rough conditions it was difficult to know the right pace". However Kremer judged it to perfection and after a short series of stages on the last day, the German headed back to the historical city of Pune with the championship victory - by one point.

Prior to the victory celebrations Kremer said, "I’m very pleased because we came to the championship with the idea of taking the Group N title for this year - but to win overall is fantastic. This is a wonderful championship with so many countries, conditions and cultures. For European drivers its such good experience to have so many events with gravel and they are all so different - now we think about next year".

FINAL OVERALL CLASSIFICATION

  Driver / Co-driver Nat. Car Total Time Difference
 Karamjit Singh / Allen Oh MAL  Proton Pert 3.53.40.9   
 Armin Kremer / Fred Berssen D  Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution (1st Gr.N) 3.56.03.1  + 2.22.2 
 Domenico Caladarola / Paolo Cecchini I  Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution (2nd Gr.N) 4.02.56.5  + 9.15.6 
 David Doppelreiter / Ola Floene A/N  Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution (3rd Gr.N) 4.06.15.1  + 12.34.2 
 Geof Argyle / Steve Smith NZ  Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 4.17.55.2  + 24.14.3 
 Christopher Atkinson / Benjamin Atkinson AUS  Suzuki Ignis Super 1600 4.24.30.8  + 30.49.9 
Nationalities: A=Austria/ AUS=Australia/ D=Germany/ I=Italy/ MAL=Malaysia/ N=Norway/ NZ=New Zealand/
Names underlined indicate drivers registered for Asia Pacific Rally Championship points.
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