Asia Pacific Rally contender Geof Argyle has won the second round of the championship in New Caledonia this weekend.
Seeded 3rd on the road, Argyle finished the first day of the two-day event in 3rd position, 1m behind the leaders. Today’s second day saw the Kiwi driver extend beyond his competitors, to win the day and event overall.
The 12-stage rally saw Argyle and the Team Total Lubricants crew exercise a newfound game plan, the result one of many according to team engineer Ian Easton.
“We put a lot of effort in to preparing the cars before the event, extra effort, way beyond what we’d normally do. We sort of went overboard, with emphasis on the attention to detail and its showing up. It showed up today in the results, and that’s what we are here for,” said Easton.
Tyre choice proved to be the biggest factor in the stage times according to Easton, adding that when the right compound and width was selected, Argyle and the car were simply faster than the opposition.
With the car completely reliable, Argyle’s primary focus was on his driving ability – which resulted in his first-ever international event victory and the Asia Pacific Rally Championship round win.
Leading the field by over 20seconds with two stages to run, Argyle extended the margin to 1:52s over second placed Armin Kremer.
The second ever event the Total/Silverstone/Heshbon/Eaton Aeroquip Group N Mitsubishi EVO 8 has contested, Argyle and the team are thrilled to be able to score such a top result.
The warmer climate in New Caledonia was punctuated with showers on the Saturday night, with weather for the weekend largely fine.
Teammate Brian Green also finished strongly, in 5th position overall. Green incurred some panel damage after running wide over a crest. The EVO 8 ended up brushing through some scrubby trees, costing Green time with a puncture.
Third teammate Dermott Malley in the EVO 6.5 was forced to retire in the 10th stage with suspected engine problems.
Argyle is now 3rd in the 2004 Asia Pacific Rally Championship with the next round to be held in Rotorua from the 9th-10th July.