APRC 2008 – IndonesiaBy Bruce • Aug 28th, 2008 • Category: Transcripts
Transcript of APRC Live – Rally Indonesia 2008
It’s round 5 of APRC 2008 which means it’s Rally Indonesia time. Hi, I’m Bruce McKinnon, welcome to APRC Live and our coverage of the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship, and as I mentioned, the crews had left behind the rain and mud of northern Japan, and were now in the hot, dusty farmlands of South Sulewesi.
There’s just 3 rounds left to complete APRC 2008, but in this championship, the sting is definitely in the tail, with Indonesia and the next round in Malaysia being, probably, the two most physically challenging events on the calendar.
Physical fitness plays an important part in the way crews handle hours of in-car temperatures which can exceed 50 deg Celsius, as the other Motor Image driver, Cody Crocker, explains:
— IV: Cody – Shakedown
This rally would see one of the smallest APRC fields for some time. Drivers can score points from only 6 of the APRCs 7 rounds, so for Rally Indonesia the Cusco Subaru’s had elected to stay in Japan, while Brian Green was back in the fold having missed the previous round in Hokkaido.
And with German driver Edith Weiss a last-minute withdrawal, only 6 APRC crews started the event, the three MRF Lancers of Katsu Taguchi, Scott Pedder and Gaurav Gill, the Subarus of Crocker and Rifat Sungkar, and Brian Green in his privately entered Mitsubishi.
The other APRC regular missing from Indonesia was Takuma Kamada. The damage caused by his roll early on day 1 of Rally Hokkaido was too great for the Arai Motorsport team to repair in time for shipping from Japan. Forced to sit out the event, it’s been a pretty miserable season for the experienced Japanese campaigner.
Of course, being Rally Indonesia, it’s the home round of Rifat Sungkar, was not only keen to do well among the APRC crews, but was also contesting the event as part of the Indonesian national rally, the title he won last year and the title his brother Rizal is keen to win from him.
— IV: Rifat – Shakedown
Rally Indonesia had changed significantly from last year. Being run as a test event for the WRC rally which comes to Indonesia in 2010, this year featured new stages and and an in-door service park in Makassar’s convention centre.
Saturdays stages consisted of a tight loop of four stages, run morning and afternoon, located just 30km to the south of Makassar. And with only 137km of stages to play with, staying away from the the rocks that litter the road side, and the punctures they cause, would be even more important. Have a problem, and there wouldn’t be the opportunity to make up lost time.
But punctures were the last thing in Cody Crocker’s mind. The first of 4 stages that made up the morning loop was slow and twisty, and the Motor Image driver was having serious electrical problems with his Subaru.
— IV: Crocker SS2
For Crocker, the only driver he was racing was Katsu Taguchi. He had to stay close to Katsu in the race for championship points, and Katsu immediately took advantage of Crockers problems, 17 secs quicker in the first stage and another 21 in the second. Things were going well until a rock on stage 3 holed a rear tyre, and he plummeted to the bottom of the time sheets.
— IV: Katsu ServA
And the rocks on stage 3 also claimed Crocker’s team-mate Rifat Sungkar, the local champion losing two minutes in the process. But that was nothing compared to Scott Pedder. The Australian has had a miserable run this year, and was keen to turn his season around in Makassar.
This year he’s paid heavy penalties for small errors, and that trend continued for him on stage 2.
— IV: Pedder – ServA
The Indonesian roads were taking a heavy toll on all the APRC crews. All the crews, bar one.
Gaurav Gill had missed 3 rounds of the season due to a bike accident, had shown great skill in atrocious conditions in Hokkaido, and was now sending a clear message to the other APRC crews that he would be a force to be reckoned with. Second behind Taguchi after stage 1, he then won the other 3 morning stages and returned to first service with a very handy minute and 7 second lead over Crocker.
— IV: Gill – ServA
There was just 20 minutes allowed during first service, and there was plenty of work for the team mechanics. The Motor Image crew tracked down the source of Cody Crockers engines woes as being a loose plug on a sensor, that in turn effected the cam timing.
And MRF mechanics did their best to fix as much of Pedders Lancer as possible, the brake lines replaced but the cross member would have to wait until evening service. He struggled on for the rest of the day, not out of the top 5, but no able to really able to keep pace with his team mates.
Thanks to his morning puncture, Katsu Taguchi was 3rd but a minute 35 adrift of Crocker. And with only this event and Rally Malaysia left to finish his season, he was desperate to not only catch, but pass Crocker. Gill won stage 5, but Katsu blizted them on the next two, and by the end of the day, he’d taken 26 secs from Cody.
— IV: Katsu – ServB
It was a good afternoon for Katsu, but it was now Gills turn to strike problems. As I mentioned, he won the afternoons opening test, but then was forced to back off when he realised the gearbox mountings on his Lancer had fractured. He nursed the car through the remaining stages, dropping just under a minute on stage 7, the longest of the day.
But he made back to service park, and importantly with his lead intact, although now reduced to just 15 seconds.
— IV: Gill – Serv B
With his Subaru now repaired, Crocker’s plan had been to chase down Gill and put himself as far in front of Katsu as possible. Gaurav’s gearbox problems opened the door, but the wrong choice of tyres stopped Cody taking advantage and snatching the outright lead.
— IV: Cody – Serv B
And it was also a mixed day for Rifat Sungkar, his morning puncture costing him time, but solid times in the afternoon allowed him to remain in 4th place, although he was now almost 2 minutes behind 3rd place Taguchi.
— IV: Rifat – Serv B
And while all the MRF and Motor Image crews had run into their share of problems, spare a though for the sole single car team of Brian Green and Fleur Pederson. Mechanical problems had dogged them all day, and while they were more than 8 minutes off the lead, they employed all their experience to get their Mitsubishi back to service park and stay 5th of the APRC crews.
— IV: Green – Serv B
— Mash-up Promo
OK, just a quick reminder that if you’d like to checkout video of Rally Indonesia, head on over to www.aprclive.com and you’ll find a short little video of highlights from the rally. In fact we do a recap of the previous years event a week or before each rally, and then I put up a highlights video a couple of days after each event.
Of course that video comes courtesy of APRC TV and if you have a look at www.aprc.tv you’ll find details of when and where you can view complete coverage of the rallies on TV. The APRC is now shown on TV in most parts of the world, so check it out, it’s all good stuff.
And if you’re a long-term APRC Live listener, you might remember that we had a give-away contest last year. I got a great response last year, so we’re running another contest this year. But it’s a bit different, so make sure you listen to the end of the show when I’ll give you details of how you can win your own little piece of the APRC.
— Email Sweeper
So let’s finish off Rally Indonesia, and day 2 was probably the shortest day of entire championship. Just three stages run twice, and only 86kms in length. But these Makassar roads had proven themselves to be car-breakers, and there was no relief
And Rifat Sungkar was the first to hit problems, the lose of 1st and 2nd gears on the tight and twisty stage 10 saw him drop a further minute behind the leaders.
— IV: Rifat – Serv C
But while Rifat was safe in 4th place, the complexion of the rally was about the change completely. A stray cow on SS9 saw him drop 4 seconds to Crocker. And forced to change a tyre on the transport to the next stage, they a incurred a 10 sec for arriving late to time control. The lead was down to just point 4, but the young Indian wasn’t about to give in without a fight, and on the next stage he clawed back valuable seconds to finish the morning with a 3.7 sec lead.
— IV: Gill – Serv C
Although his lead had been whittled away, luck was riding with Gaurav. Had the tyre given up during stage 11, he would have likely dropped at least 2 minutes, and with any change of victory.
And although Gaurav was fighting on, Crocker could sense the chance of victory.
— IV: Cody – Serv C
But while Cody was focused on Gill, Taguchi was pushing hard, taking time off the Motor Image driver to score extra bonus points for the day.
— IV: Katsu – Serv C
So just 42kms and three stages to complete the event, and there was a ding-dong battle amongst to top 3.
But behind them, the other three APRC crews were holding station. Scott Pedder struggled on in the MRF Lancer, but clearly the car wasn’t working for him and lost further time to 5th placed Brian Green. It had been a tough weekend for them both, and it was test of character that they made it over the finish line.
As it was for Rifat Sungkar, a loose intercooler pipe giving him a scare late in the day. But 4th in APRC earned him good points in both the main championship and the Asia Cup, while first place among the Indonesian series driver secured him back-to-back national titles.
— IV: Rifat – Final
Rifat’s team-mate Cody Crocker left service park for the final time determined to take the lead. But it all came unstuck on stage 12, the Indonesian rocks finally catching up with the defending champion just a wrong moment.
— IV: Cody – Final
That dropped Cody to 3rd outright, third for the leg, and importantly handing extra championship points to Katsu.
— IV: Katsu – Final
And that’s an important point about team orders. No matter your opinion of them, and I personally don’t like to see results manipulated for the benefit of one team member over another, the decision by the MRF/Race Torque team not to hold back Gaurav and allow Katsu into the lead may well cost them the championship.
If Katsu does lose the series by one or two points, this will be the moment we’ll look back on.
But while Crocker and Taguchi fought over championship points, the undeniable star of the event was Gaurav Gill.
— IV: Gill – Final
So a maiden APRC victory for Gaurav Gill at Rally Indonesia.
Now I mentioned earlier we’re running a contest this year, and we’ll make it much simpler than last year. Just one prize this time, a fantastic Motor Image team shirt that Rifat Sungkar has very kindly provided. The only way you can get your hands on one of these is to either become part of the Motor Image team, or to win this competition.
And to win it, you need to answer this question:
Prior to Gaurav’s win, who was the last driver to claim his or her maiden APRC victory. I want to know the name of the driver, the name of the event and the year it took place.
So who was the last driver to win an APRC round for the first time, prior to Gaurav winning at Rally Indonesia.
Send you answer by email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and the first correct answer wins the Motor Image team shirt.
Answer: 2006 when Cody Crocker claimed Rally Rotaru in his first APRC event.
The championship table now sees Katsu on 55 points, extending his lead over Crocker who remains in second on 49 points. The two Cusco driver, Herridge and Yanagisawa stay in 3rd and 4th places, but there’s now a fight over 5th with Gaurav, Rifat and Brian Green all on 17 points.
And in the Asia Cup, Gaurav jumps into the lead on 18 points, then Yangisawa on 15 and two MotorImage drivers tied on 12 points.
The next event of APRC 2008 is Rally Malaysia, the heat and dust of Sulawesi replaced by the stifling humidity of the Malaysian palm-oil plantations. And the round will also serve as the decider of the Pirelli Star Driver competition, so we’ll see some fast and spectacular drivers from across the asia-pacific region.
As Gaurav mentioned, he’s one of the drivers registered for the Star Driver competition. Kiwis Hayden Paddon and Brad Ayling won the qualifying round in Whangarei and with it assistance to compete in Malaysia, plus there’s a number of young drivers from around the Asia-Pacific region lining up for the chance to win an assisted drive in the Production WRC next year.
And if the rumours are true, Gaurav will get a drive in the PWRC this year. The scuttlebutt says Mohan Nagarajan, the man behind Team Sidvin and Naren Kumar, want Gaurav in a second Team Sidvin car for Rally Japan at the end of October.
Is the rumour true? Who knows? I guest time will tell.
But here in Indonesia, it’s maximum points and a maiden APRC victory for Gaurav Gill, repaying the faith the MRF team have shown in him. We’ll see you next month for Malaysia, but for now, let’s leave the final word to the man who dominated Rally Indomesia, Gaurav Gill
— IV: Gill – End