Indian rally driver and current Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) Production Cup Champion, Sanjay Takale, is ready to tackle the final round of the APRC’s Asia Cup series, where he’s hopeful of a podium result to finish the season on a high and gain important championship points.
Takale, who started his 2013 APRC campaign off strongly, came unstuck at the tricky Malaysian Rally earlier this year, pushing him towards the rear of the Asia Cup series standings which culminates in Thailand this weekend.
The Asia Cup series is contested across three events held in Malaysia, Japan and Thailand and is currently led by Japan’s Shuhei Muta, but the DNF [did-not-finish] in Malaysia seriously hampered his hopes in claiming the title this year despite a strong finish in Japan.
“I have a couple of goals for this event,” said Takale, “the first thing is to simply finish the rally. The second thing is to be challenging the factory teams so I will try to improve myself and my times in order to do that.”
“I have nothing to lose so I will be pushing hard to finish ahead of some of the other drivers. I will try a few new things and hopefully learn something here. That is my goal here anyway.”
While it is the first time Takale has competed at Rally Thailand, he says he has competed at other motorsport events in Thailand in the past so the characteristics and complexity of the roads are not unfamiliar to him.
“I haven’t done this type of car-rally in Thailand before but I have done some big off-road based rallies in the past. I hope that my knowledge from those events can help me here this weekend.”
He describes the roads as a mixture between fast and open, to narrow and tricky but admits it’ll be hard to judge the roads during the event if the region gets the rain it is forecast to get over the coming days.
The MRU Motorsports Subaru Impreza that Takale has contested the entire APRC championship in has undergone routine maintenance, including parts changes, but no other work has been done on the Subaru, including no setup or suspension changes since its last event in Japan earlier this year.
“The MRU Motorsports crew do a fantastic job preparing the car so I didn’t think any changes needed to be made for this rally. They always give me a good car so I’m sure it will be competitive without any changes,” explained Takale.
Thailand Rally is set to start at the Sara Farms headquarters near Lophuri at 6.00pm Friday 6 December. Crews then head north for 126 kilometres of stages during Saturday and approximately 103 kilometres of closed special stages on Sunday, held near rally headquarters, including 48 kilometres of tarmac special stages. The event then finishes back at Sara Farms at approximately 4.30pm on Sunday 8 December.