Australian driver Brendan Reeves has taken the lead in Round 5 APRC Rallye New Caledonia, with Rifat Sungkar 2 minutes and 6 seconds behind.
Reeves had an ‘almost’ perfect day to move ahead of day 1 leader Sungkar. The Australian was consistently fastest on almost every stage and only a small over-shoot prevented it being rated as ‘perfect’. At today’s final service Reeves was very happy “We’ve got a 2 minute lead and hopefully we can hold that to tomorrow and win the Pacific Cup. It wasn’t quite a perfect day, we did over-shoot a corner and had to reverse up in the dust. Tomorrow is going to be interesting in reverse direction. All the corners will be very slippery going into them – I’m going to have to be on to from the start”.
While Sungkar was disappointed to lose the lead his mission is to win maximum APRC points and so far the Pertamina Team driver is on track by winning the bonus points for day 1. The only real challenge to Sungkar has come from APRC wildcard Alexis Barbou, however an engine problem in the mid-day stages prevented the New Caledonian from really threatening Sungkar’s lead.
“We’re happy, happy to be leading APRC and 2nd overall is good. Our plan was always to stay ahead of the wildcards and so far we’re doing that,. It was very slippery today, the first stage was like ice and I’m surprised how hot it is – we should have bought our cool suits!!”, said Sungkar at end of day service.
Barbou is third and Brian Green fourth. The main casualty of the day was Jean-Louis Leyraud who retired on Stage 10 with and electrical fault. The New Caledonia will return tomorrow.
Everything went to plan and as we learn the character of the roads we got quicker and quicker, Its not easy, its very slippery and there’s lots of rocks a real challenge, nothing like I’ve ever driven on”, said Reeves at final service.