Motor Image team scores a double in Malaysia

Cody Crocker of the Motor Image Racing team won the FIA ASIA PACIFIC RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP (APRC) ANCOM Malaysian Rally 2009 (MR9) in 3hr 16min 22sec (provisional result) driving his Subaru Impreza WRX.

Crocker started Leg Two with a comfortable lead over team mate Emma Gilmour of New Zealand, who finished second in 3hr 27min 11sec making it 1,2 for Motor Image on the podium.

In third was Indonesian driver, Rifat Sungkar of the Pertamina Prima XP Rally Team who finished 14min 18sec behind Gilmour.

Katsu Taguchi of the MRF Tyres team bowed out of the race early in the day when he ditched his Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 10 in SS11 causing major structural damage and ending his chances of securing important Championship points.

With Taguchi out, Crocker cruised to a comfortable victory and scored maximum points which positions him strongly to take out the 2009 Championship. Crocker won the APRC the past three years.

“I am very happy just to have finished the race today. The SS were very demanding. We took the stages one at a time, kept our heads down and did the job. We kept to a pace that meant we didn’t allow any mistakes to creep in,” Crocker said.

India’s Gaurav Gill, Taguchi’s MRF Tyres team mate, who didn’t finish Leg One yesterday due to mechanical problems, pushed his Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 10 very hard today clocking the fastest times in four SS. Some say Gill could be the man to beat when the APRC is held in Indonesia in October. Gill won the Gudang Garam Indonesian Rally in 2008.

“I’ve wanted to push hard since I arrived in Malaysia,” Gill said. Earlier in the day I missed a few junctions and in SS10 I had brake problems, but once we changed our setup we managed to win a lot of Stages,” Gaurav said.

Malaysia’s Karamjit Singh had a better day in his Proton Satria Neo S2000 as he clocked more kilometers and got more comfortable with the car. “Today was good because we got to practice Slowly slowly we are getting faster, so hopefully by next Rally (Indonesia) the car will be right-hand drive and we’ll be much faster,” Karamjit said.

Katsu Taguchi had what can only described as a ‘shocker’. Winning this event was paramount to his title aspirations but on fast right hander just metres from the start of Stage 7 the Japanese driver put his Mitsubishi into a deep drain blocking the stage.

The damage was minimal and Taguchi restarted the following day to go for bonus points. That plan was going well until stage 10 when the Japanese driver, flat out in 4th gear went wide into one of the many deep ditches on the side of the road. The car was extensively damaged, possibly beyond repair. Taguchi title hopes are in tatters.

Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (APRC), Rally Malaysia, 11-12 July

Results for APRC & Pacifc Cup -registered drivers
1. Cody Crocker, Ben Atkinson (Australia, Subaru Impreza STi) 3h16m22s;
2. Emma Gilmour, Claire Mole (NZ, Subaru Impreza STI) 3h37m11s;
3. Rifat Sungkar, Scott Beckwith (Indonesia, Mitsubishi Evo) 3h41m29s.

Asia-Pacific Rally Championship Points (after four rounds)
1, Cody Crocker (Australia) 63pts;
2. Katsuhiko Taguchi (Japan) 36pts;
3 Emma Gilmour (New Zealand), 34pts;
4 Brian Green (NZ) 9 pts;
5 Gaurav Gill (India) 8pts