Crocker faces crucial Rally of Indonesia

Subaru rally driver Cody Crocker resumes his defence of his Asia Pacific Rally Championship title this weekend in Indonesia, determined to reclaim the lead in the series that he lost after finishing fourth in Japan last month. Crocker, who drives for the Singapore-based MotorImage team, currently sits on 40 points, three behind Japanese driver Katsu Taguchi. But Taguchi has already completed four events and only has another two to go – Indonesia and Malaysia – under championship rules.

Crocker has garnered his points over just three events to date, so has the final round in China, as well as the other two, to amass the necessary total to win a third straight APRC title. Third in the series is Crocker’s old Subaru Australia team mate, Dean Herridge. The West Australian has 32 points from four events, but he is absent this weekend and will round out his six events for the year in Malaysia and China.

Crocker and co-driver Ben Atkinson are aware that a strong result this weekend will make their job over the final two events that much easier. They have a mixed record in Indonesia. At their first attempt at this rally in 2006, the pair finished second to Toshi Arai, but they were the first APRC registered car home. Last year their Impreza WRX STI suffered suspension damage on the opening day when they hit a rock, and they only managed a 5th placing overall.

Crocker has been remarkable in ensuring his car gets to the finish line in APRC events. To date, he has contested 18 rounds in the series and has always brought his car home. He is now determined to stretch that record to 19 events this weekend. “We know that a strong performance here can take a lot of pressure off us over the final two rounds,” Crocker said. “If we lead after this weekend, or even if we are still very close, then we have two more events to score points from and they have just one. “So our focus is being really solid this round, not taking too may risks and putting ourselves in a really strong position by Sunday night to win the APRC again. “The roads are basically the same as what we used last year, so we know them well and that is always an advantage.

“But it’s not going to be easy as Indonesia throws up a lot of challenges. The heat is incredible and the roads are really rough. The event is being held a month earlier than usual and there is even talk of some rain, which would be a first for us here and certainly add to the challenge. “But our job is to go out on Saturday and just work away like we normally do. The car has been going really well, there are no complaints from me about anything. A drop in the temperature would be appreciated, but that’s not going to happen, so it’s just pushing on and trying to stay out of trouble.”

The event gets underway on Saturday morning with cars tackling eight special stages across 135.88 competitive kilometres. Sunday is shorter, with just six stages across 85.72 competitive kilometres.