Competitor Update – 25 June 2016

China Rally Zhangye

  • I have been assured that planning is well underway for this rally in a new location for APRC. Rally Guide 1 – version 2 is available on the CAMF website http://www.autosports.org.cn If you have trouble accessing this, please let me know.
  • The schedule for import, and export customs inspections in Beijing has been confirmed. If you require further details, please contact me directly.
  • For invitation letters to obtain your visas, please use the 2015 crew form to submit your details to organisers. These should be sent to Richard Yuan richardyuan78@hotmail.com and uam_2006@aliyun.com
  • For accommodation at the Zhangye Hotel, please contact Richard Yuan as above.
  • If you require further advice or information, please contact me or Richard.

Rally Hokkaido

  • Supplementary Regulations are due to be published today. Please continue to check on the rally website www.rally-hokkaido.com for further competitor updates.
  • Rally Hokkaido 2016 will be very similar to recent years with stages located in the forests north of Obihiro around Rikubetsu. Rally HQ will again be at the ice skating stadium.

Malaysian Rally

  • Rally Guide 1, accommodation, testing forms are all available on the rally website http://malaysianrally.com/2016/aprc2016/competitors.asp
  • The 2016 running of Malaysian Rally will be in similar format to previous years in the palm oil plantations a short drive from Johor Bahru.
  • Rally HQ and team accommodation will again be located in the Grand Paragon Hotel

Coffee Day India Rally

  • IMPORTANT: The date for India Rally has been changed. The new date has been confirmed by organisers and FIA. New Date: 3 – 5 December.
  • Please note that this means the rally will run from SATURDAY 3 December to MONDAY 5 December. When making travel and accommodation bookings, please take this in to account.
  • For accommodation requests, I strongly recommend that you make contact with the organisers urgently to advise your expected accommodation requirements, ie number and type of rooms, number of nights required. Send your requests to Farooq Ahmed farooqahmed2004@gmail.com as soon as possible

I will be travelling to Rally Poland over the next week for APRC promotion work.
During this time I may not always have email access. I will respond as soon as possible.
If you need urgent advice or information, please text or call my NZ mobile number +64 21 464 921

As always, any questions on any of the above, please contact me directly.

Murray Brown
APRC Coordinator
+63 908 310 5888
murray.brown@fiaaprc.com


Date Change for Coffee Day India Rally

APRC competitors, spectators and media intending to attend the final event for 2016, the Coffee Day India Rally, should note the date of the event has changed to Saturday 3rd December to Monday 5th December.

APRC Co-ordinator Murray Brown will provide further information in his next Competitor Update.


Team MRF Run Rampant in Rain

Gaurav Gill, Rally of Queensland 2016Gaurav Gill has emerged victorious after a dramatic end to the second round of the Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC), held at the International Rally of Queensland in Australia’s Sunshine Coast this weekend.

With heavy overnight rain, which continued during the late-morning, rally organisers had to cancel the final four stages due to safety concerns, although it didn’t affect Gill’s position as he had already built up a substantial lead of 1 minutes 59 seconds over team-mate Fabian Kreim.

Gill, of India, won all 13 stages in his Team MRF Skoda Fabia R5 at the event and said: “It was quite a challenging rally, quite difficult with the conditions changing all the time. But yeah, we got a good setup in the morning on Sat, and pushed a little bit [to build up the lead].

“The MRF team did exceptionally well. It was really difficult for everyone as the conditions were so harsh but we were lucky to have no dramas.”

Team-mate Fabian Kreim of Germany, who finished in second, was ecstatic over another podium finish in his first season of gravel rallying and during his visit visit to Australia.

On his return to the service park, Kreim said: “It was another really good experience for us… we are always learning. The speed we had was good, especially in the first stage [SS9] because there was no mud.”

Mike Young, Rally of Queensland 2016Rounding out the podium in third was New Zealander Michael Young in his Cusco EZY Racing Subaru Impreza.

“It is a really good result for us. We made the wrong tyre choice on Saturday morning but it all worked out in the end,” said Young.

“It’s always hard going against the [Skoda] R5 cars but I think we showed what we’ve got.”

Local driver Nathan Quinn finished fourth, after suffering a boost issue on day one, followed by a blown driveshaft during the first stage of Sunday ending his chances of a podium place.

“We only just made it! It was a pretty embarrassing rally for us but we’re glad to make it.”

The two Japanese crews, Atsushi Masumura (Mitsubishi Evolution) and Fuyuhiko Takahashi (Subaru Impreza) finished in fifth and sixth respectively after a trouble free run.

Mark Beard, the only other Australian competitor in the international field, finished in seventh overall behind the wheel of his naturally aspirated Subaru Impreza RS.

Rounding out the top APRC cars was Sanjay Takale of India, in a Cusco-prepared Subaru Impreza. After taking a short break from the APRC last year, Takale was just happy to finish this tricky round.

“We finally finished! We had some problems but I think that’s the character of the event. It’s dry, wet, slippy and very difficult terrain and you have to always be on the ball, as it can catch you off guard easily. I’m just very happy to be here because finishing this rally is a big challenge,” said Takale.

Fuyuhiko Takahashi, Rally of Queensland 2016Gaurav Gill and co-driver Glenn Macneall still lead the overall APRC Championship with four rounds to go, ahead of Fabian Kreim/Frank Christian and Michael Young/Malcolm Read.

The Pacific Cup, contested over the New Zealand and Australian rounds, was also awarded at the podium ceremony in Australia and was won by Fabian Kreim and co-driver Frank Christian.

The next round of the APRC is new venue for 2016 at the China Rally, held in Zhangye, West China which sits near the Mongolian border.

APRC Final Results
1. Gill/Macneall: 1:43:45.3
2. Kreim/Christian: +1:59.6
3. Young/Read: +2:45.7
4. Quinn/Calder: +8:47.0
5. Masumura/Nakagawa: +14:09.6
6. Takahashi/Nakamura: +22:22.1
7. Beard/Walters: +23:35.4
8. Takale/Takeshita: +25:20.0


Live Timing Comes to APRC

APRC Live TimingThis weekends International Rally of Queensland sees the introduction of live stage tracking and timing to fiaaprc.com, the APRC’s official web site.

Thanks to the RallySafe GPS tracking fitted to all APRC cars, you can now follow all of the APRC crews as they take on each competitive stage. Each stage features an interactive map, showing the course route and the location of each crew on stage.

Click here to view the live stage tracking and timing.


Gill dominant in Queensland

Gaurav Gill, Rally of Queensland 2016Team MRF Skoda driver, Gaurav Gill, has built up a commanding lead at the opening day of the International Rally of Queensland, the second round of the Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC), held around Imbil in Australia’s Sunshine Coast.

After eight stages based predominately in the forest, Gill (India) and local co-driver Glenn Macneall built up a lead of almost two minutes over their Team MRF Skoda team-mate Fabian Kreim of Germany.

Gill said: “It’s been a good day but quite challenging. The roads are quite slippery but are consistently slippery. But it wasn’t easy at all because this is the first time I’m driving this car on slippery surfaces and it’s very difficult getting used to what the car is going to do.

“We haven’t found the correct setup but our only saving grace was our tyres. We pushed quite hard in the morning because I had a level of confidence with the car and maintained that rhythm for the rest of the day.”

Fabian Kreim, Rally of Queensland 2016In Kreim’s second gravel event, he has managed to hold off both Michael Young and Nathan Quinn, who are both vastly experienced on these roads.

Kreim said: “So far, so good for us. It’s very difficult for us here on this kind of gravel and with so much mud, but we are very happy.

“I think tomorrow we drive very safe and hope we can get second place for the team,” continued Kreim.

Young (New Zealand), piloting his Cusco EZY Racing Subaru Impreza, slowly increased his speed throughout the day and maximised Quinn’s engine troubles to finish the day in third.

Young said: “It was a much better afternoon for us. Changing the tyres worked well and gave me so much confidence. We were basically going 40 seconds quicker in afternoon stages than in the morning. Otherwise, it was a good afternoon with no mistakes.”

Mike Young, Rally of Queensland 2016Quinn, from Coffs Coast in New South Wales, had intermittent boost issues who caused him lose time over the day, meaning the local favourite ends the day in fourth, though he vows to fight back tomorrow if he can fix the problem.

“We’ve been having turbo problems all day. We thought we fixed it at lunch, but we didn’t, so hopefully we make some changes tonight. It’s just really frustrating because we have really good road speed but every time we get to a straight, we’re having to back off.”

The problem remains a mystery for Quinn, who suspects it may be a mapping issue or a turbocharger.

Rounding out the top five is Japanese driver, Atsushi Masamura in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution. He said: “Good day today. A bit slow but we must finish this rally.”

Local driver Mark Beard finished in sixth with his Subaru Impreza RS, while Sanjay Takale (India) in a Cusco Subaru Impreza finished in seventh, ahead of Japanese driver Fuyuhiko Takahashi.

Takale, who returned to the APRC this year following a serious illness in 2015, said he is very happy to finish the first day in Queensland.

“I’m very happy. We got quicker throughout the day and even beat on my own times by two minutes in the afternoon. I am getting the rhythm back but I have to be patient. As you know, I was really sick for one year so I have to get back into the groove before I start doing anything else,” explained Takale.

The International Rally of Queensland continues tomorrow over eight closed special stages, totalling 119 competitive kilometres before finishing at the Imbil Showgrounds at approximately 3.30pm.

To keep up to date with APRC news, follow us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/aprctv) or Twitter (www.twitter.com/aprctv) or see our website (www.aprc.tv).

Results after Leg 1:
1. Gill/Macneall: 1:13:51.0
2. Kreim/Christian: +1:49.4
3. Young/Read: +2:24.5
4. Quinn/Calder: 2:46.9
5. Masumura/Nakagawa: +9:19.6
6. Beard/Walters: +15:50.2
7. Takale/Takeshita: +15:56.4
8. Takahashi/Nakamura: +16.18.7


Weather could be a game-changer in Queensland

Fabian Kreim, Rally of Queensland 2016Heavy rain over the next two days could be a serious game-changer at the second round of the Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC), the International Rally of Queensland, starting tonight in Maroochydore.

With locals predicting upwards of 200mm of rain over the next two days, the heavy rain could affect roads around the Imbil forest where the stages are held, throwing an additional challenge to the drivers on the already tricky, narrow and slippery roads.

Current APRC Championship leader, Gaurav Gill piloting a Skoda Fabia R5, who has done the rally for several years said the potential rain could quickly turn this rally into one of the hardest on the calendar.

“It doesn’t matter how well we know the rally because the conditions change really quickly here, and from having lots of grip and good traction, to absolutely slipping and sliding like in Malaysia, can turn the tables right around with one splash of rain,” said Gill.

Meanwhile Team MRF team-mate, Fabian Kreim, who is making his Australian debut this weekend maintains this weekend is all about learning and he won’t be pushing too hard, particularly with the forecast rain which could make driving difficult.

Kreim said: “The test was very good for us but the test was on dry conditions and tomorrow when it’s raining, it starts for us new conditions… it will be our first time with so much mud on gravel tyres but it’s very good for us to learn and that’s the reason why we are here.”

New Zealand driver Michael Young, in a heavier Group N Subaru Impreza, said the narrow and twisty Queensland roads means he may not be able to keep up with the faster Skoda’s, though maintains it is all about APRC Championship points here.

“We’ll attack this rally the same as the others… Malcolm [Read, co-driver] and I will start off nice and easy with a nice clean run then build up our pace. I know how devastating the roads can be and how easily you can get caught out, so you need to drive with a level head and not have too many moments,” said Young.

Young’s Cusco team-mate, Sanjay Takale, is also hunting down a podium place to put himself back in contention for the overall drivers’ championship.

Local Australian driver, Nathan Quinn, is also set to take on the international drivers though he bent a steering arm in his Mitsubishi Evolution during this morning’s shakedown. He is joined by compatriot Mark Beard in a Subaru Impreza.

The final two drivers hoping for a solid result on Queensland’s notoriously tricky roads are Japanese drivers Atsushi Masamura in a Mitsubishi Evolution and Fuyuhiko Takahashi in a Subaru Impreza.

The International Rally of Queensland gets underway with a ceremonial start tonight at Black Swan Park near the Maroochydore waterfront. Teams then contest 240 competitive kilometres across 16 closed special stages on Saturday and Sunday before finishing at the Imbil Showgrounds.