APRC 2009- China

By • Dec 2nd, 2009 • Category: Transcripts

Transcript of APRC Live – Rally China 2009

Cody Crocker has performed a clean-sweep of the 2009 Asia Pacific Rally Championship, claiming the final round of the series. Hi, I’m Bruce McKinnon and welcome to our final podcast for 2009, Rally China.

The Chinese stop for the APRC train sees competitors tackle the slow, difficult and demanding roads that run through the mountains near Longyou, south-west of Shanghai.

Crocker had already ensured a fourth straight title at Rally Indonesia, his crossing of the ceremonial start line the only formality left to complete. But the Aussie was determined to take both the Asia Cup and Manufacturers championships. From the very first stage, a muddy and dangerous super special, he dominated the rally which included high-profile european driver like David Higgins, Juha Salo and Jussi Valimaki. By the time he crossed the finish line of the final stage, he’d amassed a lead of more than four and half minutes over second-placed Dean Herridge.

— IV: Cody – Finish – 0:08 – 1:46

For the past four years Crocker has flown the Subaru flag in battle against the MRF Lancer’s. Former APRC champ Katsu Taguchi again led the ‘red’ cars, but again, China proved to be a stumbling block for them. The last time MRF and Taguchi won here was in 2004, but since then mechanical failures, crashes and plain bad luck has robbed the Indian team of any sort of result.

And, unfortunately, 2009 didn’t break that trend. An off-road excursion by Taguchi on stage 9 damaged the front suspension, a closer inspection revealing the cross-member mounting point to the chassis was also broken. Gaurav Gill’s horror run in the Evo X continued, a series of problems during the early stages plaguing the second MRF.

— IV: Gill – SS04 – 0:02 – 0:31

But that was the last we saw of the young Indian, a conrod piercing the Mitsubishi’s engine block during stage 6. Both MRF drivers were out with no chance of making a day 2 restart.

Taguchi’s retirement was made all the worse for the series longest-standing team. His crash opened the door for the Emma Gilmore to jump ahead in the championship points, making the season a one-two points result for Motor Image.

She was second of the APRC cars at the end of Saturday, and battled with the pain of a broken hand for most of Sunday to take 4th place in the APRC and 6th outright

— IV: Emma – End SS14 – 0:03 – 0:41

— Email Sweeper

The rain that fell during the week leading into the event made conditions treaturous, and all the teams struggled to find the best suspension settings on stages that were drying but also cutting up.

Like MRF, Cusco debuted their EVO X’s this season and the wide range of conditions experienced at the APRC rounds has been a development tourture-test. Hiroshi Yangisawa has made a solid start to the event, but damage to the oil cooler on stage 3 brought his season to a close. By the time he realised there was a problem, his Mitsubishi was out of oil, and forcing him to stop.

Likewise, Brian Green, back after a two round absence, suffered during the first day, retiring during stage 9 with engine and gearbox damage to his Evo 9.

But Alister McRae was back in the Proton S2000, and was looking good in 4th outright at the end of Staturday’s stages.

— IV: McRae – End of Day 1 – 0:04 – 0:34, 0:57 – 1:36

Unfortunately the Proton’s great run ended with the finish line in sight, a lower suspension arm during the second pass of the demanding San Men Yuan mountain stage.

And with Gilmore’s broken hand slowing her progress, the way was clear for both Rifat Sungkar and Yuya Sumiyama to climb onto the APRC podium.

Sumiyama had run out of brakes on stage 6 and then punctured on stage 7. But he battled on take 3rd for the APRC cars, record his first points of the season, and his first APRC podium

— IV: Yuya – End – 0:00 – 0:30

This year was Rifat Sungkar’s fourth Rally China start. In 2006 he took 3rd place in a privately entered Evo 9. But 2007 and 2008 were forgettable in the Motor Image Subaru; stuck into a ditch in ’07, and crashing out of the event during the super special last year.

If this season was one of rebuilding his profile within the series, he did it in the best possible way with a gutsy second place finish. Brian Young caught up with Rifat and co-driver Scott Beckwith at the end of the event.

— IV: Rifat – End – 0:00 – 0:30, 0:50 – 1:24, 1:30 – 2:16

Rifat made it to finish line in 4th outright, with China Rally Championship drivers Dean Herridge and Jari Ketomaa taking 2rd and 3rd outright.

But this event, and the championship, belonged to Cody Crocker. His most dominatent season since 2006, Crocker and the Motor Image team are clearly the class of the field. He may have the best funded team, with the best developed car. But he knows how to make the best of that advantage, makes very few mistakes, and piles the pressure on his rivals to match the speed he can set in the Motor Image Subaru.

Before we go I have to once again thank Brian Young and the APRC TV team. It’s with their support that I can bring you interviews with the drivers, so you get to hear, first-hand, what happens at each round of the series.

Don’t forget, you can catch up with the entire 2009 APRC season on DVD. The APRC TV DVD available the APRC.TV web site from mid-December, and there’ll be a link to it on the web site as soon as its available.

I also must thank New Caledonia Tourism, our sponsors for the first couple of rounds of the series. New Caledonia Tourism have supported the podcast for past two years, and it’s with their help that we pay for all the internet hosting and bandwidth charges associated with producing the show.

It’s been a great season. The year started slowly, with many of the teams finding it difficult to secure sponsorship. But the rallying has always been good. We’ve seen Crocker and Taguchi fight hard all year. Emma Gilmore has had a stella debut season, the Evo X’s of Gill, Yanagisawa and Sumiyama have stuggled during their first season of competition but hold promise for the future, and the new Proton S2000 looks like it can be a very competitive package in 2010.

So until we see you again for Rally Malaysia in April, let’s leave the final word to Cody Crocker, the winner of Rally China and the 2009 APRC Champion.

— IV: Cody – Pre-event – 0:43 – 4:00

is The host and producer of the APRC Live podcast and web site
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