Crocker eyes APRC record in Indonesia

Subaru rally driver Cody Crocker needs just five points from this weekend’s Rally of Indonesia to secure a record-breaking fourth straight Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) title.

The Victorian has totally dominated this year’s title race in his MotorImage Impreza WRX STI, and simply needs to complet the rugged, two-day event to go into the record books as the only four-time winner of the APRC. After five of the championship’s seven rounds, Crocker and his Queensland co-driver, Ben Atkinson, lead the series by a staggering 27 points. Only Japan’s Katsu Taguchi (Mitsubishi) and their MotorImage team-mate, Emma Gilmour, are capable of taking the crown off them.

Despite his series dominance to date, Crocker is still wary of finishing the Rally of Indonesia and securing the necessary points, knowing full well what a tough and demanding event it is. “We’re in a great position in the championship, but that doesn’t mean it’s in the bag just yet,” Crocker said. “I’ll still need to push hard and retain concentration for the two days of the event, making sure I keep an eye on Katsu’s performance as well.

“Last year’s Rally of Indonesia was one of the hardest and fastest that I’ve done for some time, and I’m under no illusion that this year will be any different. This event can be very rough and hard on the car. While there are some very fast sections, the event also has some tight and twisty stages as well, with lots of 90-degree corners through paddocks and in open country.

“In most events the second run over the stages usually sees faster times, but in Indonesia it is often the opposite. The roads can cut up quite badly, and surviving the second run will be of utmost importance.”

Weather usually plays a critical role in the tropical Indonesian sugar cane plantations where the rally is run, with heat and humidity, or rain, regularly having a big impact. “In any of the Asian countries the heat and humidity can be a real factor, but the wet weather can be the biggest challenge,” Crocker added.

“If it rains the stages become ridiculously slippery. As the first car on the road this makes it even tougher, and means that making our pacenotes in the pre-event recce becomes even more critical. As the first car on the road in the wet there’s no braking marks from other competitors, and we’re the ones who strike the slipperiest sections first. But having said that, I can’t wait for the event to get under way. It’s one of my favourites in the championship, and I’m sure our MotorImage Subaru will be up to the job.”

After a ceremonial start on Friday evening, the rally gets underway on Saturday morning and covers a total competitive distance of 221.10 kilometres over 14 timed special stages. The longest stage of the event is the 24.21 kilometre Parang Baddo stage, which is run twice on the first day.

Along with the regular drivers in the APRC, former World Rally Championship driver, the Scotsman, Alister McRae, will contest the event in a Super 2000 Proton Satria. The event also counts as a round of the Indonesian national rally championship.

Current APRC pointscore:
1. Cody Crocker / Ben Atkinson (Subaru), 63 points
2. Katsu Taguchi / Mark Stacey (Mitsubishi), 36
3. Emma Gilmour / Claire Mole (Subaru), 34
=4, Brian Green / Fleur Pedersen (Mitsubishi), 9
=4. Gaurav Gill / Glenn Macneall (Mitsubishi), 9

Source: Peter Whitten