Subaru rally driver, Cody Crocker, has got his Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) defence off to a perfect start, collecting the maximum points on offer at Rally Whangarei in New Zealand.
Crocker, who dominated the 2006 series to add the international title to his three domestic rally crowns, lead the competition from start to finish this weekend, taking three bonus points for each heat win plus ten for the overall victory.
While he did not contest the opening event in New Caledonia, Crocker and co-driver Ben Atkinson now sit on top of the championship points table with 16, one clear of Finland’s Jussi Valimaki on 15 points, with Japan’s Katsu Taguchi in third place on 13.
Crocker won the APRC round by two minutes 43 seconds from Hiroshi Yanagisawa with Malaysia’s Rifat Sungkar third, nine minutes 25.5 seconds back, making it a clean sweep for the Subaru Impreza WRX STIs.
Crocker held the overnight lead in the outright battle as well, but in the end that honour went to young Kiwi Hayden Padden who finished 24.4 seconds clear of the Australian. The Subaru driver was content to settle for second in that contest, having been dealt the role of having to sweep the heavily gravelled roads while Padden was well back in the field after all the APRC competitors.
“It was a good result for us,” Crocker said. “It was very difficult being first on the road as there was a lot of loose coarse gravel first time over them this morning. But the car has real speed. We held the Group N record for that last stage, Waipu Caves, from when it was a WRC stage in 2005, and we beat our own mark by 12.4 seconds to win the stage today. So that is really promising for the rest of the year.”
Results – Asia Pacific Rally Championship – Round 2 – Rally Whangarei
1, Cody CROCKER, Ben ATKINSON, Subaru, Impreza WRX, N4, ****
2, Hiroshi YANAGISAWA, Tadashi MISAIZU, Subaru, Impreza WRX, N4, +2:43.0
3, Rifat SUNGKAR, Herkusuma MOHAMAD, Subaru, Impreza WRX, N4, +9:35.6
4, Jean-Louis LEYRAUD, Bill HAYES, Subaru, Impreza WRX, N4, +9:52.2
5, Brian GREEN, Fleur PEDERSEN, Mitsubishi, Lancer EVO 9, N4, +11:58.7
6, Yoshio IKEMACHI, Vivek SAMY, Subaru, Impreza WRX, N4, +12:59.7
7, Patrick YANAI, Dominique YANAI, Mitsubishi, Lancer EVO 8, N4, +14:06.0
8, Naren KUMAR, Dorairaj RAMKUMAR, Mitsubishi, Lancer EVO 9, N4, +23:41.1