In 1999 Katsu Taguchi won the Asia Pacific Rally Championship. The Japanese driver snatched the win at the last moment from his countrymen Yoshihiro Kataoka.
In 2010, 11 years later Taguchi is leading the championship with 100points, but this time he’s watching over his shoulder because his team-mate Gaurav Gill is only three points behind.
This weekend is the final round of the 2010 APRC and one of these drivers should be crowned the APRC drivers champion.
Prior to the start Taguchi said “For so long we couldn’t get the championship, we have bad luck for a couple of years. We have good chance for this year, so we will try. There are no team orders at all, so good fight.
Last couple of years it was raining so speed is not very fast, but this time road is dry so car average speed is maybe 10 kilometre per hour faster, so we don’t know how hard to go, some big bump, or stone and so much faster. Anything can be happen.”
Gill is equally cautious. ” Its not going to be flat out for sure, because its a very long rally, very tough and very rough. May the best man win. What would it mean for you to win the APRC drivers title? Well it would be a dream come true, something I’ve always wanted to do, win championships outside my country. Today I am in a position to that, so defintely going to give it my best”.
And while it maybe a long shot if neither of the MRF drivers finish, Indonesian Rifat Sungkar is there to pick up the trophy. ” Definitely we will try our best and China is always a very tough event, different culture, different roads. Different stages this year with 30% concrete in total and I’ve never driven on concrete in my life, this is completely new for us.
What would it mean for you to win the Asia Pacific driver title? Suddenley my heart is shaking. I don’t know what to say but that the aim of doing APRC for last 5 rounds, being on the podium is such an honour for us, but winning the APRC would be such a great honour, not for me but definitely for Indonesia.”
Hoping to spoil the party are the Proton and Cusco teams. With no chance of winning the championship they will be going for outright wins.