APRC 2008 – New Caledonia

By • Apr 18th, 2008 • Category: Transcripts

Transcript of APRC Live Podcast – New Caledonia 2008

Welcome to APRC Live, the podcast of the Asia-Pacific rally championship. I’m Bruce McKinnon and this is our podcast of the first round of the 2008 series, Rally New Caledonia.

And before we get started I must apologise for the delay in getting this podcast to you. As you probably realise, with the APRC events spread all around Sth-East Asia and Oceania, we rely pretty heavily on technology and internet connections to collect all the material that goes into producing the show, and in this case, some of the technology let us down. So I apologise for the delay in getting the show to you.

However, it is a new season, and as we covered in last weeks season preview show, there’s extra awards on offer this year, and new drivers coming into the series. Rally New Caledonia would be the series debut for two new drivers, Scott Pedder and Dean Herridge, both of whom have been leading drivers on the Australian domestic rally scene for many years, as well as being the first of the Pacific Cup events.

As we discussed in the season preview last week, a great fight is looming in the Pacific cup between Herridge and the French trio, Jean-Louis Leyraud, Patrick Yanai and Patrick Christian.

The conditions in NC are unique, and who better to explain, than Patrick Christian, back in his Mitsubishi Evo 9 and running the ‘Team New Caledonia’ colours.

— IV: Christian Pre – 1:20 – 1:56, 2:13-2:43

As expected, the Kiwi regular Brian Green has also nominated to contest the Pacific cup, but MRF made a surprise decision to compete Katsu Taguchi for the Pacific Cup, while leaving Scott Pedder and Gaurav Gill to fly the MRF flag in the Asia Cup.

The Japanese driver is one of the most experienced competitors in the series, and is looking forward to not only beat the new-comers, but win a second APRC title for himself.

— IV: Taguchi Pre – 0:40 – 1:45

Like Taguchi, Hiroshi Yanagisawa has a new team-mate in the Cusco team. Having finished second in the series in 2006, last year was little disappointing with a series of mechanical failures and accidents. This season Cusco are back with a second car, and lead driver with plenty of New Caledonia experience and determined to make a good start to the season

— IV: Yana Pre – 0:24 – 1:30 (??) – 3:20 – 4:20

There’d been heavy rain during the week leading into the event, but sun came out for the two opening stages at the Noumea Hippodrome. And even though it was only 3kms, Katsu Taguchi managed to bag a 10 sec lead to start Saturdays stages, three passes of three stages and all based near the town of Poya, 200km nth-west of Noumea.

And with a 9am start time, that meant an early start for the crews, and an even earlier start for the mechanics and the other team members.

But MRF have a lot of experience here and have dominated the event over the past few years, and on the first loop of stages it was no different. Scott Pedder was making a positive start for his new team, equal third on stage 3 with Hiroshi Yanagisawa, then losing time on the next with a puncture and spin, and bouncing back with a win on the final stage before first service to remain 2nd overall.

But his team-mate was unstoppable. Taguchi had lead here last year, and the experience showed. He tripled his lead, not even the local wildlife able to slow him down.

— IV: Taguchi SS05 – 0:06 – 0:33

The Cusco pair were more evenly matched, with Yanagisawa moving ahead of Herridge during the morning, while Jean-Louis Leyraud also managed to slip past the second black car. The rain during the preceding week meant Herridge had little meaningful testing time in the car, and was struggling to get a handle on it.

— IV: Herridge SS05 – 0:07 – 0:40, 1:02 – 1:24

Patrick Christian suffered turbo problems during the first loop, and lost ground to both Patrick Yanai and Brian Green, who used all of his experience and skill to capture 2nd fastest on stage 4.

Back out for another loop, and this time Pedder was staying closer to Taguchi, just 4 secs the difference, but the Japanese drivers gap now out to 34 secs.

— IV: Pedder SS08 – 0:10 – 0:47

Behind them, there was a great struggle developing for 3rd, 4th and 5th. The changes Herridge called for at first service were starting to work, and he moved past Leyraud into 4th, cutting 3 secs out of Yanagisawa’s lead, the lead Cusco driver suffering with a bad tyre choice.

— IV: Yanagisawa SS08 – 0:08, 0:20

But while Leyraud was still battling for position, things weren’t going so well for the other French drivers. Patrick Yanai stopped on stage 6 with diff problems, while Patrick Christian struggled on, his turbo problems fixed but his brakes failing during the afternoon.

— IV: Christian End Day 1 – 0:10 – 0:32, 0:40 – 0:46

So one more loop of stages to finish day 1, and Taguchi didn’t let up. Scott Pedder matched his times from the morning, but Katsu bettered his, extending his lead out of 43 secs. And luck seemed to be going his way. The only problem with the car appearing right at the end of the days final stage.

— IV: Taguchi End Day 1 — 0:05-1:01

Following the MRFs, the battle for third had been resolved, at least for the time being. Dean Herridge and the Cusco team were starting to gel, his car getting better with each loop and dead-heating the final stage with Scott Pedder, he moved into third with a 20 sec lead over Yanagisawa.

— IV: Herridge – End Day 1 – 0:08 – 1:05

But while the Herridge and the other New Caledonia rookie, Scott Pedder, has managed to come through day 1 unscathed, day 2 presented the biggest test of all. At 35km, Katrikoin winds it’s way up through the hills, combining dry rocky sections with wet and muddy sections through the rainforest.

Last year Taguchi took a handy lead on day 1 and lost it and the rally thanks to a wrong tyre choice. So what did the two new guns think of the stage:

— IV: Herridge – End Day 1 – 1:18 – 2:14

— IV: Pedder – Day 1 – 1:12-1:35, 1:40-2:01, 0:20-0:40, 2:35-2:48

So what did the locals think? Well Patrick Christian had identified Katrikoin as the key stage in the event, and Jean-Louis Leyraud, regarded by the locals as a master in the mud, had some fairly definite ideas on how to survive day 2.

— IV: Leyraud End Day 1 —– 0:52-1:02, 1:25 – 2:38

Advertisement for New Caledonia Tourism

And big thanks to New Caledonia Tourism, our first sponsor on the podcast. As you’ve probably noticed there’s a lot more time and effort being put into the web site and the podcast this year, and it all costs money. So we’ll be running some advertising on the web site and in the podcasts, and it’s great New Caledonia Tourism have come on-board for this show.

— Email Sweeper

Now as I mentioned at the top of the show, this year the series has added the Pacific Cup and the Asia Cup awards within the structure of the APRC series. And it’s probably worthwhile mentioning that the point scoring for the cups is completely separate from the regular APRC series.

Just like the APRC, drivers who nominate for one of the cups are awarded 10pts for 1st, 8pts for second, 6 points for 3rd and so on, plus bonus points for the top 3 of each leg of an event.

So for Rally New Caledonia, the first three drivers who are registered for the full APRC were Katsu Taguchi, Scott Pedder and Dean Herridge, earning them 3, 2 and 1 bonus points. But Scott Pedder and Hiroshi Yanagisawa are contesting the Asia Cup, so the Pacific Cup day 1 bonus points to go Taguchi, Herridge and Jean-Louis Leyraud.

Sound confusing? Yeah, I was too. But have a look up at where you’ll find an up-to-date points table for both cups, plus the overall championship leader board.

— Dean Herridge promo

So on to day 2 of Rally New Caledonia, and this time the teams moved up into the hills, roughly half-way between Noumea and Poya. There was only two loops of two stages, but the days opener, Katikoin, was the stage catching the most of the drivers attention.

Muddy and wet in places, grassy and slippery in others, and along with Rally China’s San Men Yuan, it’s one of the toughest stages in the championship. So what’s it like? Well let’s take a ride with Brian Green and Fleur Pederson as they negotiate stage 12 Katikoin.

— IV: Green OB Stage 12 —- 0 – 0:16, 0:25-0:30, 0:35-:43, 0:57-1:32 (don’t forget bleep)

And as you heard from Fleur, Katrikoin had claimed one of the Cusco cars. It was Yanagisawa, his car off the road and performing a slow roll down the hill. No on-one was hurt, and his co-driver Yoshimasa Nakahara were explained what happened.

— IV: SS13- Nakahara – 0:08 – 0:32

But Yanagisawa wasn’t the only car to be claimed by Katrikoin. Up ahead, Scott Pedder had picked his way through most of the stage, but a simple lapse in concentration proved costly.

— IV: SS13 – Pedder – 0:11 – 1:15

So with Yanagisawa and Pedder out of the rally, the leaders were reshuffled, with Leyraud inheriting 3rd and Herridge up to 2nd.

— IV: Herridge SS13 – 0:07-0:56

But for Katsu Taguchi, Katrikoin posed no problem and the rally was his for the taking.

— IV: Taguchi SS13 – 0:10-0:40, 0:49-1:03

So after service, just one loop of stages to finish the rally. It had been a good event for Brian Green, fourth overall behind Leyraud but 3rd in the APRC registered cars.

— IV: Green End – 0:28-1:20

And 3rd in the Pacific cup was good result for Jean-Louis Leyraud, the sole Frenchman to make it to the finish after Patrick Christian was disqualified for a start line infringement, and Patrick Yanai was unable to restart after his mechanical problems on Saturday.

— IV: Leyraud End – 0:09-0:20, 0:30-0:49, 2:16-2:20

And it was a particularly relieved Dean Herridge who made it back to service park unscaved, managing a stage win on the final test of the day.

— IV: Herridge 1:36-2:03, 0:11-0:57

But the man who lead from start to finish was Taguchi, the Japanese driver not seeming to break a sweat as he coasted home for his first APRC round win in 2 years.

— IV: Tag 0:34-0:44,
— IV: Tag2 End2 – 0:15-0:22,
— IV: Tag End 2:00-2:11, 1:11-1:27, 0:57-1:00

So that is the first round of the APRC 2008 done and dusted. There’s just a couple of weeks break between events, the next stop on the APRC calendar being Rally Canberra, which starts on May 10. And this is where the season really starts to get serious, with Cody Crocker, Rifat Sungkar and the Motor Image team making their first appearance this year, and Team Arai making their debut into the championship with two brand-new 2008-spec Subarus.

I’ll be down in Canberra for the rally, and the plan, at the moment anyway, is to record a show for each day of the event. So we’ll have live interviews with all the crews, and hopefully we can pick up a bit more of the flavour and excitement of the event.

So how to do you get hold of the show? Well if you use iTunes, you’ll find APRC Live by searching for us in the podcast section of the iTunes music store. If you click the Subscribe button you’ll get each show, automatically, as soon as it ready.

If you don’t use iTunes, but another program that automatically downloads podcasts, then you’ll find the shows RSS feed, on the APRCLIVE.COM web site.

And if you don’t know what all this new-fangled RSS-stuff is about, we can send you an email when new shows become available. Just go the web site, type your email address at the right-hand side of the page, and click the Subscribe By Email button.

And don;t forget, if you’d like to be part of the show, you can either leave a written or audio comment on the web site, or send email me at

So maximum points for Katsu, and a great return to form for the MRF. It’s been a great start to the season, and I suspect things are only going to get better. I’ll see you in a couple of weeks for Rally Canberra, but until then we’ll leave the last word to the winner of the Rally New Caledonia, Katsu Taguchi.

— IV: Taguchi 1:45 – 1:47, 0:07-0:12

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