Kicking off on Friday 17 June, and continuing over the weekend of 18/19 June, the Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) returns to the beautiful French Pacific island of New Caledonia for the 3rd round of the 2011 Championship. With a full complement of the Asia Pacific’s leading drivers committed to the event, there will be a familiar duo returning to the island nation to defend their APRC win in the 2010 event. In the 2010 event, Rifat Sungkar and co-driver Scott Beckwith took victory for the Pertamina Team in all red, whilst in 2011 the duo now lead the Pertamina Cusco Racing team with its striking black livery complimented with grey and Pertamina red. A partnership between Indonesia’s pre-eminent supplier of fuel and oils, Pertamina, along with the Japanese based specialty car parts manufacturer Cusco, and joined by tyre supplier Yokohama, the relationship brings together a vast amount of experience and capability.
Sungkar and Beckwith have a new team, new car and new colours, but return to New Caledonia with the same determination to conquer the challenging and demanding roads of the event that saw them succeed in 2010. “We have a fantastic car, team and sponsors, so all the right ingredients for success” noted Sungkar. “We weren’t able to give our best in the last round of the Championship in Queensland, where we were plagued with brake issues, but with that problem behind us, we will be able to take the fight up to the best Asia Pacific has to offer. I very much enjoyed this event and its challenges last year, and will be pushing hard to repeat our success this year”
Co-driver Beckwith believes the duos experience from 2010 will give them the edge. “This event has a reputation as a tricky and challenging event, which rewards experience and commitment – you only need to look at the times of the local guys like Jean-Louis Leyraud last year to see that” said Beckwith. “Our advantage this year is that we learned a huge amount last year which we can apply this year, we have really good notes from last year, plus we have a brilliant car – so that combination should set us to challenge for outright placings this weekend”
The Team knows it has the right package to succeed in New Caledonia. “Like Queensland, this event is new for the Pertamina Cusco team, and whilst we have the benefit of the experience of Rifat and Scott, we know we need to maximise that advantage to be successful” commented Team Manager Sugimura. “But, we are very confident we have the right car, tyres and support team to do that. We know from Malaysia that it is capable of winning in Rifat’s hands – and this is an event that should suit him and his driving style well. We are certainly here for a podium!”
The event totals 230km of special stages, kicking off on Friday with a series of short special stages close to Noumea, the capital city of New Caledonia. The event then moves to the forests Southeast of the city for the action on Saturday and Sunday.
Along with Pertamina, Cusco and Yokohama, Rifat and Scott are very grateful for the continued support of their Indonesian sponsors – Tag Heuer, Bullocks Tools, DC Clothing and Otoblitz.
Photos: Marcel Stawiczny
For more information, please contact Scott Beckwith at email@example.com