Although a colder financial climate may have robbed the APRC of last season’s champions MIRT, 2010 will see a new batch of teams and drivers join the regulars to contest the APRC title.
Contesting the full series, regulars MRF have locked in their plans with an unchanged driver line-up. This year both Katsu Taguchi and Gaurav Gill are expected to pilot Lancer EVO Xs, with ex-Dean Herridge co-driver Chris Murphy teaming up with Taguchi.
Proton announced their return to the APRC midway through last season, with Alister Mcrae to challange for the title in a Proton Neo Super 2000. The Malysian manufacturer is also expected to enter a second Super 2000 car, with two former factory WRC drivers currently in line for the seat.
Privateers Brian Green and Rifat Sungkar have also announced their plans to contest the full series, making it a Mitsubishi-Proton fight for the manufacturers title.
Along with these crews, expect to see additional teams contest the series. Thanks to championship’s new ‘wildcard’ provisions, up to four additional entries will be permitted per event, with the ‘wildcards’ eligible to score championship points and prize money.
The Asia Cup looks like it will be hotly contested this year, with Cusco’s Hiroshi Yanagisawa and Yuya Sumiyama taking on Japanese privateer Tomohide Hasegawa in a Hasepro Mitsubishi Evo 8, and Malaysians Karamjit Singh and Rafiq Udhaya.
While Udhaya will pilot an ex-Cusco Subaru WRX, Singh is expected to upgrade his Evo 8 after the opening round in Malaysia.
Meanwhile, the Pacific Cup will again see a strong field of Frenchmen battle for the title. Jean-Louis Leyraud returns in his ex-PBMS Subaru WRX, and is expected to be joined by two other New Caledonian teams, with the strong possibility that two young Australian and New Zealand crews will also the battle.
The first round of the main series and the Asia Cup kicks off with Rally Malaysia on April 24.