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Daily Report
2008 FIA ASIA-PACIFIC RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP
ROUND 6: ANCOM MALAYSIAN RALLY 2008

10 - 12 October 2008

TAGUCHI RETIRES FROM MALAYSIAN RALLY
MARK TAPPER WINS MAJOR PRIZE
Mark Tapper / Jeff Judd










Scott Pedder / Glen Weston










Katsuhiko Taguchi / Mark Stacey
The Malaysian Rally was a major disappointment for 2008 Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) points leader Katsuhiko Team MRF Tyres Mitsubishi driver Katsuhiko Taguchi (Japan ) after going off the road and out of the event on Day 1, however Mark Tapper (New Zealand ) driving a Mitsubishi Lancer won New Zealand driver Asia-Pacific regions biggest motor-sport prize, a sponsored drive in the 2009 Production Car World Rally Championship by winning the Pirelli Star Driver Competition.

The Malaysian Rally is one of the toughest on the Asia-Pacific circuit, extreme heat and humidity coupled with rough slippery roads make it an event where just finishing is an achievement .This year the event was held later than normal and in the rainy season, where traditionally on most afternoons torrential rain falls and that was exactly what happened on day one - a huge rain-storm that literally flooded the roads and turned them slipperier than ice skating rinks.

In the blinding rain on special stage 6 and with the windscreen fogged up due to the extreme humidity Taguchi missed seeing a corner and went straight on at a junction and put the car over a small bank. With no traction and no spectators the Japanese driver was stuck fast, out of the rally and any chance of becoming the 2008 Asia Pacific Rally Champion gone. " The rain was very heavy but the main problem was the heater for the demister was no working. It was so hard to see we even stopped to clean the screen, but we have go as we are fighting with Cody, but I was little too late seeing a corner and suddenly we were off the road and into the ditch. Then we got really wet slowing down the other cars, cause our car was in a dangerous place. Standing for more than one-hour in the heavy rain was not fun!!", said Taguchi back at service. With Taguchi's retirement the championship goes to Australian driver Cody Crocker for a third time.

Team-mate Scott Pedder from Australia bought his Mitsubishi home in 5th overall after a tough weekend battling with broken gear selectors. Gaurav Gill (India) also in an MRF Tyres Mitsubishi went out after stage 4, when he a hit a hidden rock in a dip, tearing off the oil cooler.

The Pirelli Star Driver competition is new award for five regions around the world where drivers under 27 years old from each of those regions will win a sponsored drive in the 2009 Production Car World Rally Championship. Ten young drivers lined up at the start of The Malaysian Rally for a chance to to win the Asia-Pacific regions Star Driver award. These drivers included Indonesian Rally winner Gaurav Gill (India) New Zealand Champion Hayden Paddon and Mark Tapper (New Zealand ) all driving Mitsubishi Lancers.

The event through everything at these drivers and Tapper was one of the few to 'weather the storm' while other failed or crashed off. "It was really trying conditions and even though we had a slow start we managed to come through. I said at the beginning of the week we wanted rain, but in the end we had a bit too much!! But the wet stages really suited us because that's when we pulled lots of time" said Tapper at ceremonial finish. "It hasn't sunk in yet, the phone's been ringing off the hook with calls from around the world." Not only did Tapper top the young drivers competition, but he also made the podium on the event overall - beating out more experienced APRC drivers to third place. "It's a added bonus to be on the podium again at an APRC event and to beat the regulars by such a large margin." After some tough times in the last few years, the twenty-seven year old has come out on top and will now move up onto the world stage. "The biggest part for me is being able to re-pay the people who have backed me and had faith in me even when things have not gone so well."

The next event in the 2008 Asia Pacific Rally Championship is the China Rally in Longyou 7-9 November. The Manufacturers title will be decided in China with Subaru on 81 points and Mitsubishi 71.
 APRC CLASSIFICATION
Pos Driver
Co-Driver
Nat Vehicle Total
Time
Diff
Leader
1 Cody Crocker
Ben Atkinson
AUS
AUS
Subaru Impreza 2:55:24 **:**
2
A
Hiroshi Yanagisawa
Yoshimasa Nakahara
J
J
Subaru Impreza 2:58:52 +3:28
3
A
Rifat Sungkar
Bill Hayes
RI
AUS
Subaru Impreza 3:05:53 +10:29
4
A
Takuma Kamada
Naoki Kase
J
J
Subaru Impreza WRX 3:09:04 +13:40
5
A
Scott Pedder
Glen Weston
AUS
AUS
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX 3:15:35 +20:11
A : Asia Cup


 FINAL OVERALL CLASSIFICATION
Pos Driver
Co-Driver
Nat Vehicle Total
Time
Diff
Leader
1
AP
Cody Crocker
Ben Atkinson
AUS
AUS
Subaru Impreza 2:55:24 **:**
2
AP/A
Hiroshi Yanagisawa
Yoshimasa Nakahara
J
J
Subaru Impreza 2:58:52 +3:28
3 Mark Tapper
Jeff Judd
NZ
NZ
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX 3:02:57 +7:33
4
AP/A
Rifat Sungkar
Bill Hayes
RI
AUS
Subaru Impreza 3:05:53 +10:29
5
AP/A
Takuma Kamada
Naoki Kase
J
J
Subaru Impreza WRX 3:09:04 +13:40
6
AP/A
Scott Pedder
Glen Weston
AUS
AUS
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX 3:15:35 +20:11
7 Rizal Sungkar
Anthony Sarwono
RI
RI
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII 3:28:25 +33:01
8 Arjun Rao Aroor
Musa Sheriff
IND
IND
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VI 3:32:12 +:36:48
AP : APRC registered
A : Asia Cup


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