APRC Opens Door to More Cars in 2014

Rally Thailand 2013 - Mike Young Toyota VitzExciting new rules first proposed by the APRC Working Group and now approved by the FIA will allow a greater range of cars to compete in the Asia Pacific Rally Championship.

Any car that complies with the JAF (Japanese Automobile Federation) RJ and CAMS (Confederation of Australian Motor Sport Ltd) G2 regulations is eligible to compete in the APRC without the need for detailed homologation documents.

The JAF RJ rules allow a wide range of production cars to be used with minimal modifications, whereas the CAMS G2 regulations will allow two-wheel drive cars to be built similar to FIA R3 specifications, without having to go through an extensive homologation process.

Another enhancement to the APRC for 2014 is a new Teams Award option where, if a team nominates to enter a car in 6 APRC events they can, have a different driver/co-driver for events – and each driver/co-driver will score points in the Championship.

Rally Queensland 2013 - Brendan Reeves MazdaPeter Macneall from APRC Executive said “This is good news for the championship, especially opening up the range of competition cars that can compete. The JAF RJ cars are very standard, less than Group N, however it means cars like the Toyota 86 & Subaru BRZ are eligible as well as models from Mazda, Nissan and Suzuki. We have been working with the FIA on this for the past 12 months and they have now recognised that the Regional Championships need more freedoms in order to attract competitors”.

“For competitors who want cars with more development and power the CAMS G2 regulations will allow teams to build cars equivalent to FIA R3. An example could be the Toyota Yaris (Vitz) that won the APRC 2WD category in 2013 could now be built into a fully-fledged R3 equivalent”.

“The changes to the Team Award, allows a team to run a second or third car for customer drivers. There are many competitors who want to compete in APRC events, but not the full season. This way they can compete in part of the championship and still score some drivers points”, said Macneall.

Cars already approved for any other FIA Regional Championship will remain eligible for the APRC. This may include vehicles such as the maxi cars already locally homologated in Argentina and the VW Polo R2 from South Africa.

More modified cars such as the Maxi cars currently being built in New Zealand will be still be required to go through the homologation process with their National Sport Association.

The opening round in 2014 is the Rally Whangarei, New Zealand 12-13 April, followed by seven rounds in seven countries including New Caledonia, Australia, Indian, Malaysia, Japan, China and Thailand.

For full details on the new regulations, please see the FIA Regional Rally Sporting Regs.

In all cases the cars will need to meet the FIA Safety requirements.

Further information: www.fiaaprc.com and www.aprc.tv
CAMS Group G 2014 Regs (DRAFT ONLY): CAMS Draft Rally 17 Group G 2014 v3a
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Twitter: https://twitter.com/APRCtv

Young Wins Asia Cup

Thailand 2013 - Young on SS13New Zealanders Mike Young and Malcolm Read are the 2013 Asia Cup champions, after the kiwi pair drove their Cusco Toyota Vitz to victory on the very tough Thailand Rally.

It was a rally of absolute attrition – first Thailand’s Chaiyan Longton retired with engine failure on stage one. Then Asia Cup points leader Shuhei Muta from Japan retired on the second stage with engine failure in his Subaru.

Young came close to retirement on this stage too, when a rock wedged itself in one the Toyota’s rear wheels. Crossing the finish-line on three wheels, co-driver Read did road-side repairs to keep them in the event.

Thailand 2013 - Sanjay TakaleOn day 2 Yuya Sumiyma held a big lead and it was looking like he would be Asia Cup champion for a second year, when on stage 8 he too retired , clutch failure ending the Japanese drivers event. On the same stage fellow Japanese driver Tomohide Hasegawa in a Mitsubishi, retired with fuel pump problems.

Indian driver Sanjay Takale then held the APRC lead, only to retire on the very last test, stage 13 with gearbox issues.

With Sumiyama and Takale out of the event, APRC victory went to third placed Young, capping off a hugely successful year in the Asia Pacific Rally Championship for the twenty year-old New Zealander with three international titles – the FIA Junior Cup, the FIA two-wheel drive Cup and finally the FIA Asia Cup.

Thailand 2013 - Sumiyma - Leg 1“Its unbelievable, at the start of this week I never even thought about being Asia Cup champion but its been such a crazy event, up and down and we’ve ended up on top. The events so tough on the cars, its hot, dusty and rough, its all about who makes it to the finish – thanks to Cusco, Toyota and Dunlop for making it happen”, said Young at final service.

Thailand Rally is the final APRC event for 2013, with the series kicking off again in 2014 with New Zealand’s Rally Whangarei in April.

Thailand Title Decider

Cusco Service at Rally Thailand 2013This weekend is Thailand Rally – Kings Cup, the final round of the APRC’s Asia Cup.

Thailand is in the news for all the wrong reasons at the moment, however there is no sign of the unrest taking place in Bangkok and as its the Kings birthday this weekend those troubles seemed to have slowed for the moment. Thailand Rally is based at Saha Farms complex near Lophuri, 140 kilometres north-east of Bangkok.

After a win in Malaysia and 2nd place points in Hokkaido, Japanese driver Shuhei Muta in a Group N Subaru Impreza leads the Asia Cup by 22 points, from his Cusco team-mates Yuya Sumiyama and Michael Young – equal second on 46 points.

Last year’s Asia Cup winner Sumiyama, also driving a Subaru had a poor start to his 2013 campaign with engine failure in Malaysia, but a win in Hokkaido has put him back in with a chance to retain the title. But even if he wins outright, Sumiyama can only take the title if Muta has a DNF or finishes lower than 5th place.

With two solid finishes, New Zealander Michael Young has put himself in contention for the cup title, although given he’s driving a 1600cc front-drive Toyota Vitz he’s going to have to rely on both his team-mates having problems in their turbo 4WD cars. “My main aim here is to make it a Cusco 1-2-3 in the Asia Cup, but to do that I have to stay ahead of Hasegawa too”.

Mike Young Testing at Rally Thailand 2013Another to have finished each of the two events so far, Tomohide Hasegawa driving the Hasepro Mitsubishi Evo 10 is fourth with 38 points.

Other contenders include India’s Sanjay Takale (23 points) driving an MRU prepared Subaru Impreza . Takale had a DNF in Malaysia and scored all his points in Japan where he also wrapped up the Production Cup. Thailand’s Chaiyan Longton who had a stand-out performance in Malaysia with third overall, didn’t compete in Japan but starts his home event with 25 points.
From Sri Lanka comes Dinesh Deheragoda driving a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 10, new to the series but hoping to get some experience for a 2014 APRC campaign.

After two days of recce the drivers report the roads in good condition, narrow, rough in parts and as there’s been no rain for weeks, there is lots of dust.

A 24 kilometre all tarmac stage on Day 2 will add to the mix of surfaces and tyre strategy. Shakedown and the official start is today (Friday), followed by two days of competition over 230 kilometres.

Story and photos by Brian Young – www.apsm.tv