MITSUBISHI MOTORS

RALLI ART

Report
FIA ASIA-PACIFIC RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP
ROUND 5: MALAYSIAN RALLY
12 AUGUST 2007
LEG 2
PODIUM FINISH FOR MITSUBISHI LANCER EVOLUTION DRIVER ON TOUGH RALLY MALAYSIA FINAL OVERALL CLASSIFICATION

NAREN KUMAR / JEFF JUDD
 

KATSUHIKO TAGUCHI / MARK STACEY
 

JUSSI VALIMAKI / JARKKO KALLIOLEPO
 
Just to make it to the finish of the APRC Malaysian Rally is an accomplishment and Naren Kumar (India) in the Team Rally India Mitsubishi proved that getting a good result in these conditions is all about determination and consistency. Kumar bought his Mitsubishi Evolution IX homein 2nd place, followed by New Zealander and team-mate Brian Green in a similar car.

The Malaysian Rally has always been one of the toughest on the Asia Pacific Rally Championship calendar - and this year proved one of the hardest with three of the top contenders not finishing including former champions Katsu Taguchi (Japan) and Jussi Valimaki (Finland).

Weather was again a major factor, the extreme heat and humidity again causing problems for the competitors, but at least this is predictable and crews can train and prepare for it. The sudden tropical downpours are not so easy to predict and especially when they can be very localized - pouring millions of litres onto one area, while a few hundreds away it will be bone dry, making tyre choice a real lottery for the crews.

The first leg was just such a challenge with heavy rain at the mid-day service and for the afternoon stages the choice used by the competitors was as consistent as the weather - some driver opting for complete mud tyre, while other went for the dry weather option.

The final stage of the day proved the most difficult and slippery with all driver complaining they made the wrong tyre choice, whether they were on muds or dries. At the final service Mitsubishi cars were in 2nd, 3rd and 4th and leading Mitsubishi competitor was Katsu Taguchi in the MRF Tyres team.

"Very tough rally today, temperatures very hot and road conditions changed quickly, so not so easy. The last 2 stages were 70% in the wet and we used mud tyre, but still not could make good time, I don’t know why - but very difficult to have complete confidence in those conditions".

After a fast start Jussi Valiamki also in an MRF Tyres Mitsubishi was disappointed to be 3rd, "We were leading the rally after the first two stages, but unfortunately we made a mistake during our recce and for stage 3 we had no pace notes, we lost over 1-minute. We tried hard to make up the time in the afternoon but in the muddy conditions our mud tyres didn’t seem to be of any benefit - it was very, very slippery. Tomorrow stages should suit us better."

Unfortunately both MRF Tyres Team cars were out of the event early the next morning with identical rear differential problems. Moving into 2nd spot was Kumar, who’s consistency throughout the year finally paid off with a spot on the podium "We drove pretty hard right through without making any mistakes and just hanging in there. We knew that 2nd and 3rd for us was going to be difficult, but then suddenly the MRF teams bad luck, was our good fortune, fantastic result for us"

Brian Green felt fortunate to finish, let alone stand on the podium "In the 2nd stage this morning we ran off the road into a drain and got stuck. Some-how we managed to get going again and at the end of the stage found ourselves in 5th with the MRF team out, then two guys in front both had problems, one with puncture and another with a crash - suddenly we’re up to 3rd ".

In 4th place was sole remaining MRF Tyres Team driver Gaurav Gill from India a great result for the young Indian, who started the APRC in round 1 but crashed out early in the event. Gill drove firmly with a finish as a priority and 4th in APRC was just reward especially in these conditions.



 FINAL OVERALL CLASSIFICATION
Pos Driver
Co-Driver
Vehicle Total
Time
Diff
Leader
1
AP
Cody Crocker
Ben Atkinson
Subaru Impreza 2:49:46 **.*
2
 
Toshi Arai
Glenn Macneall
Subaru Impreza 2:50:10 +0:24
3
AP
Naren Kumar
Jeff Judd
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX 2:55:43 +5:57
4
AP
Brian Green
Fleur Pedersen
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX 3:05:56 +16:10
5
 
Subhan Aksa
Hade Mboi
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII 3:11:48 +22:02
6
AP
Rifat Sungkar
Mohamad Herkusuma
Subaru Impreza 3:13:27 +23:41
7
AP
Gaurav Gill
Karl Francis
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VII 3:19:56 +30:10


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