Eight drivers have so far registered for the 2005 Asia Pacific Rally Championship with further entries expected by New Caledonia.
The big news is the entry into the championship by Japanese driver Toshi Arai in his Sanden Subaru Impreza. Arai currently leads the Production Car World Rally Championship and in current form will be hard to beat although due to other commitments he cannot compete at all rounds.
The MRF team return with Katsu Taguchi in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 8 and after winning China and 2nd overall in the 2004 championship, Taguchi will be top contender for the title. Taguchi’s team-mate will be Finnish driver Jussi Valimaki, nicked named ‘FastJussi’, a former test driver for Hyundai and very experienced in European events. It will be interesting to see how quickly he adapts to new roads and conditions.
New Zealander Geof Argyle returns with the Silverstone Tyres team and is joined by Brian Green. Both drivers will run Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 8’s. Kiwi Dermott Malley is running his own team this year and has Argyles co-driver from 2004 Steve Smith sitting alongside him.
Chinese driver Fan Fan, who had a successful run in India last year enters the championship. His team-mate will be Malaysia Chee Hong Kan and both drivers will run Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 8’s. Due to a conflicting event in China, Fan Fan and the Wan Yu Rally team will not be at Canberra and will begin their campaign at New Caledonia.
And where is Karamjit Singh?? Expect an entry for Rally of New Caledonia along with several other surprises…….
Registered drivers in the APRC 2005 – Entries close May 15.
1. Geof Argyle (NZ) , Jeremy Sinclair, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 8 Silverstone Competition Tyres (NZ)
2 Chee Hong Kan (MAL), Bernard U-Min Chin (MAL), Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 8, Wan Yu Rally Team (CN)
3 Fan Fan (CN), Yong He (CN), Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 8, Wan Yu Rally Team (CN)
4 Dermott Malley (NZ), Stephen Andrew Smith (NZ), Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 8, M Rally Team (NZ)
5 Toshi Arai (Japan), Tony Sircombe (NZ), Subaru Impreza, Arai Motorsports (Japan)
6. Katsu Taguchi (JPN) ,. Mark Taguchi (AUS), MRF Tyres (India)
7. Jussi Valimaki (FIN) , Jarkko Kalliolepo (FIN), Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 8, MRF Tyres (India)
8. Brian Green, Fleur Pederson, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 8 Silverstone Competition Tyres (NZ)