New Zealander Possum Bourne led from start to finish in the 2000 Rally of China, winning by a 10 minutes and extending his leading in the Asia Pacific Rally Championship.
Driving his Caltex-Havoline Group A Subaru Impreza, Bourne had an untroubled run on the mountain roads around Shaoguan, Guangdong province – winning each of the 13 high-speed special stages.
In second place and winning Formula 2 was Australian Simon Evans, in a Volkswagen Golf – having his first drive in Asia. Third, and winner of the Group N production car category, was Hong Kong-based Chan Chi Wah in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 4.
Malaysian driver Karamjit Singh’s event got off to a bad start when his Proton PERT rally car, recce car and service trucks were found to have been sent to the USA instead of Hong Kong. Singh’s sponsor, Malaysian Airlines, airfreighted an Evo 3 Proton Wira, plus limited spares.
But on the first day of the rally the gearbox broke, putting Singh out of the outright battle and denying him any chance of regaining his former lead in the APRC overall points contest. However under the APRC’s super-rally rules Singh was able to continue the next day – running second to Bourne on Legs 2 and 3 of the rally to take six bonus points that extended his lead in the Group N standings.
The second day’s action was all in the F2 – with first Korean driver JY Park crashing out after setting top five times on several stages and then Nobuhiro “Monster” Tajima crashing his Suzuki Baleno. Tajima was flat-out in sixth gear and entering a fast right hand bend when the engine suddenly lost power – pitching Tajima and co-driver Glenn McNeall over a bank and into a large tree.
The Rally of China was held in Shaoguan area for the first time – attracting huge crowds and an enthusiastic response from the drivers to the event’s variety of mostly-smooth roads.
2000 Rally China Final Results
1. Possum Bourne/Mark Stacey, Subaru Impreza WRX, 3:27:42
2. Simon Evans/Claire Parker, Volkswagen Golf Kitcar, 3:40:35
3. Chan Chih Wah/Chan Tang Po Lin, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 4, 3:48:32
4. Yao Jindong/He Lei, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 4, 3:56:13
5. Zhou Yong/Guo Zheng, Peugeot 106, 4:00:24