In a shock turn-around to the APRC season, Jussi Valimaki and his MRF Lancer has blown away the rest of the field to lead after eight stages of Rally Indonesia.
And even more surprising, after a near trouble-free run all season, the man who looks most likely to take the title, Cody Crocker, has had his worst day of the season, 5th at the end of the leg and trailing Valimaki by a massive four and half minutes.
After a disastrous Rally Malaysia, the MRF Lancer team have turned it around in Indonesia, with Valimaki taking seven of the days eight stages, only bettered on stage 2 by his team-mate Katsu Taguchi.
By contrast Crocker and his team-mate, local hero Rifat Sungkar, have had a day to forget, unable to match the MRFs on the slow and dusty Sulawesi stages. By midday service, Crocker was just two seconds behind second-placed Taguchi. But after lunch he struck trouble, dropping two minutes on stage 6 and hemorrhaging more time on the final two stages of the day.
Another six stages await the crews on Sunday, and Crocker will need to catch Gaurav Gill, more than a minute ahead of him, to capture 4th place and enough points to seal the championship ahead of the final round in China.
Unofficial Results Leg 1 (Updated)
1 Jussi Valimaki 1:46:55
2 Katsuhiko Taguchi 1:47:52
3 Hiroshi Yanagisawa 1:48:53
4 Gaurav Gill 1:49:42
5 Cody Crocker 1:51:24
6 Naren Kumar 1:51:28
7 Rifat Sungkar 1:51:39
8 Brian Green 1:55:46