Sanjay Takale, one of two drivers from India in the Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC), had a successful start to his 2014 campaign at last weekend’s International Rally of Whangarei in New Zealand (11-13 April), scoring valuable championship points in order to defend his APRC Production Cup title.
The Cusco Racing driver overcome several challenges, including a brand new car, to finish the rally which he says was his main goal. “I’m very very happy. This is the fastest APRC rally so it was always going to be difficult for us but all we wanted to do was finish the rally, which we did.”
Takale, and co-driver Sean Gregory from Malaysia, also had a brand new team who will stay with them for the entire 2014 APRC season, which was an added challenge for the duo, but they both praise the high standard of workmanship and professionalism of the Cusco Racing team. “We did well to adjust to the new car, the new team, and new people but Cusco made it really simple. They are very professional and have a lot of knowledge. I’m learning a lot of things and I feel like I’m part of a really good team. Now we must focus on New Caledonia and the Production Cup.”
The new Cusco Racing Subaru Impreza that Takale is campaigning this year, is totally different to any other car he has previously driven, so he says simply to score points for the championship was valuable for his long-term goals.
“It is a big year for me. This is only my seventh rally in a four-wheel-drive car so I’m still very much getting used to it. I come from motocross and have not raced a lot of cars. But even so, there is no four-wheel-drive cars in India or Malaysia, they are all front wheel drive. So still very new to me and hard to adjust.”
“But it is good to get points for the Production Cup. As we know anything can happen so we need to finish all the time.”
Takale eventually finished seventh overall and third in the Production Cup standings in the APRC event which leaves him in a good position for the remainder of the APRC championship.
“The competition was very fierce. I think we now need to raise the bar and push harder in the next events.
“The Pacific events [New Zealand, New Caledonia and Australia] are very difficult for us. They are very very fast and we don’t have roads like this in Asia. Once we get to Asia, we will be pushing for bigger results because we know the roads there.” The next rally for the Cusco Racing team is Rally New Caledonia, based around the tropical island, on 17 and 18 of May.