Top Indian rally driver, Sanjay Takale, is eager to tackle the tricky roads at this weekend’s Malaysian Rally, part of the Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) to consolidate his championship chances at an event he considers his ‘home-rally’.
Takale, who experienced rallying for the first time in Malaysia before moving on to a successful international rally career, says while he is familiar with the event and the climate, says he’s also wary of the roads and will approach the event with caution to ensure championship points. “I love this rally, for me it’s almost like coming home. I had my first rally experience here in Malaysia so it always holds a special place in my heart. The climate is also like home [India], and so are the roads actually, but if the rain comes, that’s when it becomes really tricky for me as I’m not so familiar with that,” explained Takale.
“Last year, I made a big mistake here and went into a ditch and that cost me a good result. So this year I must be very careful and all I want is to finish. As we know many competitors struggle to finish here, so just finishing would be a very good result for me and my Cusco Racing team because we need to score as many points as possible to improve our production cup championship.”
Takale, joined by local Malaysian co-driver Sean Gregory, are again backed by Cusco Racing and will contest the event in their Cusco Racing Subaru Impreza which has not been driven by Takale in Malaysia before, but he remains confident of the team’s preparation of the car. “I’m sure Cusco [Racing] have given me a great car as they’ve been working on it since our last rally in Australia. Last year we had some problem with the car here but this time in Malaysia we have a different car with a great team so I’m confident the car will be competitive here,” said Takale.
The 2014 Malaysian Rally also marks the first event of the three-event Asia Cup contested over events in Malaysia, Japan and China and is a title Takale is keen to claim. Takale said: “The Asia Cup will be hard to win this year with so many talented drivers entered so just finishing and getting points at every event will be important for us. So again, like I’ve said, we must finish this event and get lots of points because it would be great to win this title.”
The Cusco Racing duo currently sit third in the production cup championship, along with seventh in the overall APRC drivers’ championship, only 17 points behind sixth placed Jan Xu of China.
The Malaysian Rally starts on Friday at 8.45pm at Angsana Complex before heading north on Saturday to Kota Tinggi for the first run of special stages. The crews will compete across fourteen of special stages on Saturday and Sunday before finishing at approximately 4.00pm on Sunday afternoon back at Angsana.
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Sanjay Takale’s 2014 APRC Calendar
Round 1: 12-13 April, International Rally of Whangarei, New Zealand
Round 2: 17-18 May, Rally New Caledonia
Round 3: 21-22 June, International Rally of Queensland, Australia
Round 4: 16-17 August, Malaysian Rally, Malaysia
Round 5: 27-28 September, Rally Hokkaido, Japan
Round 6: 08-09 November, China Rally, China