Japan is the home of Cusco Racing and therefore Rally Hokkaido is a very important event for the team. After running two cars in the fully Asia-Pacific championship for Sanjay Takale from India and Mike Young from New Zealand, at Hokkaido Cusco will have four cars.
Japan’s Yuya Sumiyama will enter a Subaru Impreza to chase the Asia Cup and after winning it in 2010 and 2012 there is every chance he can be a three time winner. A second place in Malaysia has given Sumiyama a great start to his championship hopes.
Making a welcome to the APRC for this event is Hiroshi Yanagisawa charged with debuting the brand new Cusco built Subaru WRX STI. A brand new shape and modifications to the rear suspension have the team excited by the WRX’s potential for the future.
As with all events in the APRC championship Rally Hokaido has unique challenges. Sanjay Takale from India drives a Cusco prepared Subaru Impreza WRX Sti and is well aware of the technicalities of the Hokkaido rally roads, “The second pass on these stages can be very rough and you have to be very careful where you put your wheels. In some stages there are concrete gutters that can give you a puncture or worse break a wheel”.
“This is possibly my last APRC rally for this year, so I want to do well here in Japan and get some good points. My goal is win a round of the Production Cup, something I haven’t been able to do this year”, said Takale.
Young made his APRC debut with Cusco in Hokkaido in 2011 and since then has driven for the team on a regular basis. Young took out three APRC titles last year and speaking during team testing says he’s working on securing the two-wheel-drive and production cups this year, alongside the junior cup he secured in Malaysia.
“It’s a bit more about the championship and getting points now. Obviously winning the production cup [class] would be nice to win this year to make it three championships in one season again like last year, so now that we’ve secured Junior Cup and two-wheel-drive is almost secure, that’s definitely what we’re aiming for,” explained Young.
With four cars entered in the APRC at Rally Hokkaido, testing enables the team to get the best out their cars and drivers. Here is some footage from the Cusco Team test: http://youtu.be/W3dRKuQGiyw?list=UUdNDUhAokaIuXJwIPcs1L6A
PHOTOS BY: Mittan Fujita and APSM