By winning the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship for the past two years Australian driver Cody Crocker has possiblity started a flood of Australian drivers and co-drivers joining the championship.
Earlier this month Crockers former Subaru team-mate Dean Herridge announced his intention to contest the Pacific Cup (the 3 Pacific rounds of the APRC) with the Japanese based CUSCO team. “This is a great opportunity to drive for one of the top teams in the APRC” say’s Herridge. “I am very much looking forward to the challenge and my aim will be to try and win the Pacific Cup with Cusco as well as work closely with Yanagisawa-san to try and maximize Cusco’s efforts this year. I think there are some real benefits to be had from running two cars and I hope this will help Cusco with their efforts in the Championship.”
“For me the biggest challenge will come from New Caledonia. I have no experience at this rally and of course it will be the first event with the team. Saying that I hope for a good result, so I can push on roads I have experience on, like Canberra and New Zealand” .
This week former Team Mitsubishi Ralliart Australia Driver Scott Pedder and co-driver Glen Weston have announced their plans to contest the full 2008 APRC with the MRF Mitsubishi team run by the Perth-based Race Torque Engineering Team. Race Torque have successfully fielded teams in the APRC for many years under the MRF Tyres and Mitsubishi Motors Japan banner, culminating in outright honours in the series in both 2003 and 2005.
After finalising the APRC drive Peddar said, “This is incredibly exciting for both Glen and I. The deal with Race Torque and MRF enables us to continue to compete at one of the highest levels in the sport, in a series with great diversity and appeal and against some strong opposition. To also be back in a Mitsubishi, a brand that I have had experience with now for over 10 years, is tremendous and possibly an advantage for us – one that hopefully we can exploit against the new Subaru.”
Race Torque Engineering co-director Lane Heenan is equally as excited to secure the services of one of Australia’s leading rally crews. “Obviously our aim is to win rallies and the championship and to provide strong return for our key team partners – particularly MRF Tyres and Mitsubishi. Securing the services of Scott and Glen to back up the rest of the team is a huge positive. Also, despite the fact that we are Australian based, we have never had a full time Australian driver in our APRC line up so hopefully the inclusion of Scott and Glen can widen interest in the team. Things are looking very positive for a successful 2008 season.”
A number of other Australian drivers are considering entering the APRC in 2008 and announcements are due in the next few weeks. The Australian round of the APRC is the Rally of Canberra (9-11 May) and for the first time time ever, Canberra will have home-town heroes Crocker, Herridge and Peddar battling it out for APRC honours.