Competitor Update – December 2014

On behalf of the APRC, I would again like to pass on congratulations to all the 2014 APRC Champions. And also of course to all the other competitors who have once again committed to the challenges of APRC.

A full list of 2014 Champions and the final points situation is available on the APRC website www.fiaaprc.com

2015 APRC Calendar

The 2015 calendar has been approved by the FIA. There will be six events of APRC:

  • New Zealand 17-19 April
  • New Caledonia 15-17 May
  • Australia 19-21 June
  • Malaysia 14-16 August
  • Japan 18-20 September
  • China 30 October-1 November

Pacific Cup will include New Zealand, New Caledonia and Australia

Asia Cup will include Malaysia, Japan and China (a fourth rally is expected to be added and confirmed early in 2015)

Junior Cup will include New Zealand, Australia, Malaysia and Japan

2015 APRC Regulations

The FIA has approved the 2015 APRC regulations. These can be found at http://www.fia.com/sites/default/files/regulation/file/2015%20FIA%20Regional%20Rally%20Sporting%20Regulations_all_0.pdf

Please note the following changes from 2014 under V4 (from page 55)

  • Art 4.2, 4.3, 4.4.6
  • Art 5.4.2, 5.6
  • Art 14.1
  • Art 28.1
  • Art 56.3

National Cars

The FIA has given approval for APRC to consider applications from competitors who wish to use cars that meet national elgibility requirements.

This is intended to allow more cars to compete in APRC.

There will be criteria which must be met as part of the application process. There will be a form available from the APRC secretariat aprc_secretariat@malaysianrally.com along with details of the fee payable.

International Rally of Whangarei 2015

2015 will see more of the familiar for Whangarei; Northtec pre-event service area, Quayside SP and HQ.

The organisers have included in the itinerary some new roads never before used for international rallying. But in keeping with the roads that this part of the world is famous for.

Rally Guide 1 is available on the event website www.rallywhangarei.co.nz as well as the APRC website

Rallye de Nouvelle Caledonie 2015

The organisers have re-located the rally, to some familiar territory to the north of Noumea. As well as the stages and SP located in Bourail, the rally will move HQ and the weekend accommodation base to the Sheraton Hotel in Bourail.

Rally Guide 1 is available on the event website www.aprcnewcaledonia.com and provides further details

In consideration of the extra transport costs for teams to move containers from the pre-event service area to Bourail, this cost will be borne by the organisers

Murray The MooseFinally, I would like to thank all teams, drivers, co-drivers, competitors and sponsors for their support of APRC in 2014. I trust the experience has been good for you, and I look forward to welcoming you back and working with you again in 2015.

Wishing you all a Safe and Happy Festive Season and better things for 2015.

Please feel free to contact me for further information on any of the above items.

Kind regards
Murray Brown
APRC Coordinator
murray.brown@fiaaprc.com


Rally Whangarei Rally Guide Available

Rally Whangarei, Sanjay TakaleWith many competitors already planning their 2015 APRC season, the organisers of the International Rally of Whangarei have begun releasing competitor information.

Click here to view the Rally Guide 1, with further information and supplementary information available early in the new year.


FIA Increases Car Categories for 2015

Chevrolet Agile Maxi CarFollowing the recent meeting of the World Motor Sport Council agreement has been reached to allow the APRC to approve cars from countries within the region to participate and score points in the 2015 FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship. This will allow a greater range of cars to compete.

This is in addition to the changes last year which allowed cars that complied with the JAF (Japanese Automobile Federation) RJ and CAMS (Confederation of Australian Motor Sport Ltd) G2 regulations to take part without the need for detailed homologation documents.

Cars already approved for other FIA Regional Championship will also remain eligible for the APRC. This include vehicles such as the maxi cars already locally homologated in Argentina.

The maxi car concept is also being embraced by Australia & NZ and cars built to these rules will be able to apply to participate in the APRC.

Honda Civic. Ming KoWith the growing manufacturer and consumer interest in alternative fuel cars, the APRC is considering a category to cater for this class in the near future.

The 2015 Asia Pacific Rally Championship starts in April, with New Zealand’s Rally of Whangarei then heads to New Caledonia, Australia, Malaysia, Japan and the China Rally in November. A seventh event will be added for Asia Cup only.

for more information, please contact:
Murray Brown, APRC Coordinator e: murray.brown@fiaaprc.com
APRC Secretariat: aprc_secretariat@malaysianrally.com


Kopecky and Dresler Receive FIA Awards

Pavel Dresler, Jean Todt, Jan KopeckýDoha, 6 December 2014: It was a big day for the ŠKODA Motorsport team with the Czech automobile manufacturer’s drivers crowned Asia-Pacific and European rally champions for the third time in a row by the International Automobile Federation (FIA).

As well as the trophies, ŠKODA also received plenty of recognition from the elite of the motorsport world, who had gathered in the Qatari capital Doha for the official award ceremony for the 2014 season. The Fabia Super 2000 also became the most successful model in ŠKODA’s 113-year motorsport history.

“We can be proud of the success we achieved with our Fabia Super 2000 last year. And the entire ŠKODA Motorsport team once again did a great job,” said ŠKODA Motorsport Director Michal Hrabánek. “A big thank you obviously goes to our crews, for whom the trophies are just reward for an outstanding season,” Hrabánek continued.

In the FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (APRC), ŠKODA was honoured for completing a hat-trick of back-to-back titles in the Manufacturers’ and Drivers’ Championships following a perfect season, with six wins from six races. New champions Jan Kopecký/Pavel Dresler (CZ/CZ) also achieved a feat worthy of champions: they became the first duo ever to win the Drivers’ titles in the FIA European Rally Championship (ERC) and then the APRC in consecutive years. Chris Atkinson (AUS) had previously won the APRC Drivers’ title in 2012, while Gaurav Gill (IND), who finished third this year, was crowned champion in 2013

Kopecký, Dresler , Fern and LappiA team in a ŠKODA Fabia Super 2000 also won the title in the ERC for the third year in a row, this time courtesy of Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm (FIN/FIN). Fellow ŠKODA duo Sepp Wiegand/Frank Christian (D/D) of the ŠKODA AUTO Deutschland team finished runner-up in the continental championship to complete a one-two for ŠKODA. Lappi followed in the footsteps of his compatriot Juho Hänninen (2012) and Kopecký (2013), who also won the European title in a ŠKODA Fabia Super 2000.

FIA President Jean Todt presented this year’s title winners Kopecký/Dresler and Lappi/Ferm with their trophies at an award ceremony in Doha. Also among those receiving trophies were Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia. The French pair won the World Rally Championship for Volkswagen for a second year running in 2014.

This shower of titles was a fitting end to the incredible success story of the Fabia Super 2000 at ŠKODA Motorsport. From 2015, the ŠKODA Fabia R 5 will follow in the footsteps of the most successful rally car in the company’s 113-year motorsport history. The international public is currently enjoying a preview of ŠKODA’s new rally car at the Essen Motor Show, in the form of an R 5 concept car. “The Fabia R 5 is the future of rallying for us,” said ŠKODA Motorsport Director Michal Hrabánek. “The Fabia R 5 is expected to be homologated by mid-2015.”

Source: Team Release


Skoda Shows Off New R5

SKODA Fabia R5 ConceptŠKODA has announced a major treat for visitors to this year’s Essen Motor Show with an opportunity to see the concept version of the new rally car, the ŠKODA Fabia R 5, for the first time.

It takes place from 29 November to 7 December 2014.

“The world premiere of the Fabia R 5 Concept Car gives an insight into the future of rallying at ŠKODA,” said ŠKODA Motorsport Director Michal Hrabánek. “The Fabia R 5 is scheduled to be homologated by mid-2015.”

SKODA Fabia R5 ConceptThe new Fabia R 5 features a lot of high-tech. In keeping with FIA regulations, the new racing car is powered by a 1.6-litre turbo engine. The new car also features a sequential, five-speed gearbox and McPherson struts. The weight will, in accordance with the regulations, be at least 1230 kilograms. A number of top ŠKODA drivers were also involved in the development of the new Fabia R 5.

The 2014 rally season, which has just drawn to an end, saw ŠKODA and the Fabia Super 2000 achieve a hat-trick of titles* in the FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (APRC). On top of this, ŠKODA also won the Drivers’ title in the FIA European Rally Championship and a further five national championships.

Source: Skoda Press Release


2014 Season Review

Jan KopeckyAfter victory at Japans’ Rally Hokkaido, last year’s European Rally Champion Jan Kopecký from the Czech Republic added another FIA title to his name by winning the 2014 FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship. Kopecký’s co-driver Parvel Dresler won the co-driver’s and MRF Skoda team secured the manufacturer’s title for a third time and Team’s Trophy.

Kopecký cemented his title win with victory at the final APRC event for 2014 the China Rally and with four wins out of six events, the Skoda works driver was obviously very happy at final service, “It’s been a great year and thanks a lot to the whole team it was a great opportunity in APRC and hopefully I can come back for some rallies in the future. I think the highlight is we won the championship, our team-mate Gaurav (Gill) was very strong, he knows the conditions and we managed to beat him. I’m very happy we showed that Skoda is really strong, a really strong brand and we showed to everyone our car is really fantastic.”

Yuya SumiyamaJapan’s Yuya Sumiyama in a Group N Cusco Subaru with co-driver Naoki Kase, was second overall in China and with two wins and a second place won the four-round FIA Asia Cup for a record third time, “Asia Cup champion and overall 2nd position, very very happy and good result for the team. The conditions were very slippery and rough condition so we’re lucky”, said Sumiyama at final service.

Sumiyama’s Cusco Racing team have won the Asia Cup title four years in a row and they backed that up with New Zealand driver Mike Young and co-driver Malcolm Read winning the APRC Production Cup in a Cusco prepared Proton Satria.

Mike YoungYoung was the only driver to finish all six events in 2014 and in doing so secured second place in the FIA APRC drivers points, the Junior, Two-wheel drive and Production Cups.

“Its amazing for our team and Cusco, the boys worked so well, not even had a mechanical (problem) this year – we’re over the moon! Malcolm’s (Read) done an awesome job all year, kept me on my toes and in the grove so we’re really happy. Consistency has rewarded us with second in the championship in a 1.6 Proton, against all the four-wheel drive and S2000 cars it’s just awesome”.

Gaurav GillUnfortunately for last year’s drivers champion Gaurav Gill from India it was a season to forget. Gill won the first event in New Zealand by 12 seconds after an epic battle with new team-mate Kopecký, but things started to unravel in New Caledonia with a costly off, that demoted Gill to second place. Worse was to follow in Australia with a huge crash that wrote-off the Racetorque owned Skoda Fabia – luckily Gill and co-driver Glenn Macneall were unhurt. Gill won the Malaysian Rally and this time it was Kopecký’s turn to retire (with suspension damage) meaning the championship was evenly poised heading to Japan. But then Gill crashed again while leading and that was it – game over.

Other contenders in 2014 included Chinese driver Xun Ju who entered a privately run Skoda Fabia S2000, finishing on the podium in Australia but conflicting dates and regulations with the Chinese Rally Championship meant Xun could only enter four events.

Australia’s Mark Pedder was a welcome entry in the 2014 APRC driving a Racetorque prepared Mitsubishi Evo 10. With three podium finishes Pedder was a real contender for the driver’s title and the Group N Production Cup, however a DNF in New Caledonia and China dropped Pedder to 5th in the points.

Sanjay TakaleAfter a promising year in 2013 as a title contender Sanjay Takale moved to a Cusco Subaru Impreza for 2014, but an engine problems led to retirement in New Caledonia and being off the pace in Australia. Takale rolled the Subaru in Malaysia and although he finished the event never recovered the lost time. It was in Japan where Takale finally found his true form, swopping times with Xun and team-mate Young – ending his APRC campaign on a high note and promising to return in 2015.

The APRC’s Pacific and Asia Cup’s continue to be an important addition to the series and while the Pacific Cup was won easily by Kopecký, in the Asia based events there was a lot more competition and a bunch of new competitors. Starting at the Malaysian Rally, eight driver registered for the Asia Cup, run over four events and where points count for the best three events. Sumiyama was second to Gill in Malaysia and took maximum points in Japan and China – after that no-one could catch ‘Sumi’ with the points he’d accumulated.

Dinesh DerahagodaThailand Rally was to have been the finale for the Asia Cup but cancelled its APRC event at the last minute due to financial difficulties and therefore second place went to Dinesh Derahagoda from Sri Lanka in the EZY Racing Mitsubishi. It was just reward for Deheragoda whose Asia Cup campaign was fraught with mechanical difficulties, yet somehow he and the EZY Racing Mitsubishi made it to the finish of all three events they started, picking up valuable points at each.

Japan’s Tomehide Hasegawa in the Hasepro Mitsubishi would have been a contender too if Thailand Rally had run. Opting not to compete in China meant Hasegawa only competed in two events yet still managed to finish sixth in the points.

The 2015 FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship calendar is to be confirmed by the FIA and released in December.

Click here to view the final 2014 season results.

Story by Brian Young. Photos by apsm.tv.