Cody Crocker has a healthy lead in the APRC Rally of Whangarei after the first days competition over the super fast Northland roads. Even though the Motor Image driver was first on the road and having to sweep the roads of the ‘heavy metal’ for the following drivers it didn’t seem to be a handicap for the double APRC champion as he pushed his Subaru through the stages to lead the event at the end of the day by 1 minute and 34 seconds from Katsu Taguchi.
“We had a great day, but had a problem with a wheel bearing on the last stage and nursed the car through the stage, so we lost 15 seconds and wasn’t quite sure how hard to push to maintain our lead. We managed to be on top of the APRC field which is fantastic, a bit surprising when the other teams had done so much testing. But I guess we’ve got a lot of experience from driving on these roads in the WRC and last years APRC and the team worked well with the data and setup the car really well – its such a great thing to drive, fantastic fun out there”, said Crocker at the end of day service.
The expected challenge from the APRC drivers didn’t materialise with Katsu Taguchi emerging best of the rest. Scott Pedder is third, although he was generally faster on most stages than team-mate Taguchi, but incurred a 1 minute 20 second penalty after a late check-out from service when the MRF Mitsubishi team was forced to change the Australian’s gearbox at mid-day service.
CUSCO driver Dean Herridge also had a gearbox changed and the current APRC leader is currently 4th and 20 seconds behind Pedder. Yanagisawa is 4.8 seconds behind Herridge, with Jean-Louis Leyraud 6th 13.8 seconds further back.
Motor Image’s Rifat Sungakr is 7th and having a good battle with CUSCO’s young driver Yuya Sumiyama who’s only 4.4econds behind.
The only retirement in APRC was Takuma Kamada who’s Subaru’s engine expired on Stage 7.