Crocker takes fourth Canberra win

Cody Crocker has won his fourth Rally of Canberra, and his third in a row, with an emphatic victory in round three of the Asia Pacific Rally Championship today.

Crocker and co-driver Ben Atkinson won 10 of the event’s 16 stages in their Motor Image Rally Team Subaru Impreza WRX, eventually winning by over a minute from Japan’s Katsu Taguchi. Crocker, who won the APRC last year, has now driven in two rallies in his Motor Image Rally Team Impreza, and has won both of them, strengthening his standing as the best driver in the Asia Pacific region. Aside from a steering problem on the final stage of Leg 1, he emerged unscathed from the tough and demanding Rally of Canberra course.

Taguchi, with co-driver Mark Stacey, had been just 12 seconds behind Crocker at the end of the first day, but a turbo boost problem early on Day 2 saw his chances of victory slip away. However his second place puts the MRF Tyres driver into second place in the APRC, moving him ahead of team-mate Jussi Valimaki, who was fourth.

In third place were Australians Dean Herridge and Bill Hayes in a Subaru Impreza WRX. Herridge, who soon heads to Beijing to drive for the Subaru Rally Team China, had a trouble-free run into third place.

Finnish star Jussi Valimaki, won three stages, including two on the final day, in his MRF Tyres Lancer Evo 9, but came away disappointed with his performance. Despite a confidence-building two-day tyre and suspension test before the event, Valimaki could not match the speed and domination of Crocker, and now slips to third in the championship standings. It was a good event for Motor Image team as Crocker’s team-mate, Rifat Sungkar, took fifth place, ahead of Indian Naren Kumar, Kiwi Brian Green, Australian Denis Stephens and Japan’s Jun Mikami.

The next round of the Asia Pacific Rally Championship is the Hokkaido Rally in Japan, from July 6-8.

Final Results, Rally of Canberra:
1. Cody Crocker / Ben Atkinson Subaru Impreza WRX 2h30m51.6s
2. Katsu Taguchi / Mark Stacey Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 +1m03.6s
3. Dean Herridge / Bill Hayes Subaru Impreza WRX +1m51.8s
4. Jussi Valimaki / Jarkko Kalliolepo Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 +2m16.7s
5. Rifat Sungkar / Herkusuma Mohamad Subaru Impreza WRX +7m36.1s
6. Naren Kumar / D. Ramkumar Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 +10m17.6s
7. Brian Green / Fleur Pedersen Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 +15m54.8s
8. Denis Stephens / Frank Brookehouse Subaru Impreza WRX +30m18.1s
9. Jun Mikami / Toshiyuki Kayahara Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 +32m26.2s