Rally of Whangarei: five things learned
by Giles Wade / 22nd May 2013 www.maxrally.com
This year’s Asia-Pacific Rally Championship got underway in the Kiwi autumn last weekend. Here are five things we learned.
1. Lappi learns quickly New Zealand’s roads are reckoned to be pretty tough to learn first time out. The number one thing we learned in the land of the long white cloud last week is that Esapekka Lappi is clearly a quick learner as well as a very quick driver.
2. Prodigious pace from Paddon Hayden Paddon could count himself as unfortunate not to have won last year’s S2000 WRC – but he bounced back in fine style on his home APRC round last weekend. Except he didn’t. He ran in the NZ Rally Championship class, which meant he wasn’t included in the classification for the APRC. If he had’ve been, he’d have won it by miles.
3. APRC’s not the same with the Satria Where were those screaming Protons? The Malaysians dominated the 2011 APRC season and were really missed on the
North Island last weekend – not least Alister McRae and his spectator-pleasing approach to signing autographs and cambered and quick right-handers. Come back soon.
4. Wot no WRC? The International Rally of Whangarei was New Zealand’s biggest rally of the season and that’s a crying shame. That’s not to detract from the APRC, which is a fine series, but these are the best roads in the world – and the world’s best drivers should be racing on them this season.
5. Toyota’s backGranted, it’s a toe in the water. But it was great to see an ‘official’ Toyota competing on a round of the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship again. And even better for Michael Young, who placed the Vitz
RS on the podium first time out. Granted, it wasn’t quite Carlos Sainz in 1990 or Yoshio Fujimoto eight years later, but Toyota’s back in the APRC.