The FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship’s (APRC) partnership with Würth continues to grow where Würth and its products are seen as an integral part of the championship, as the teams and drivers head towards the final phase of the 2014 series in Japan, China and Thailand.
The challenge of racing cars through the toughest rally roads in seven very different countries, across the Asia-Pacific region requires back-up from a large team of technicians and expert engineers, who in turn require the best tools and products. For Würth’s distributors in the region the partnership with the APRC is seen as the ideal marketing and promotions campaign, especially when all countries can share common benefits from the association.
“The APRC shows Würth products being used by high-skilled professionals working on factory supported rally cars under extreme conditions. It convinces other professionals of Würth’s premium qualities across its entire product range” said Martin Ruetti of Würth International, Shanghai.
Rebecca Liu, Marketing Director at Würth Line China said “Rally sports is held in extreme and rough conditions, so the high quality products are super important for it, we are very proud to show our customers that Würth products and expertise is used in this campaign”.
The APRC teams benefit from the APRC-Würth partnership, especially with expert technical advice along with the Würth product.
Takuya Sugimura, team manager for the Cusco team, winners of the APRC Asia Cup for past three seasons says: “CUSCO Racing and our parent company Carrosser are involved in many areas of motorsport and we have used Würth products previously. However since Würth’s partnership with the APRC we have come to understand and learn more about what product is best for a given situation. Of course it helps that as a team we are given the Würth product as part of the partnership agreement, but we would be going out and buying that product anyway, it is that good!”
With the next APRC event being held at Rally Hokkaido in Japan later this month, Würth Japan will have a big team of its technical and sales staff in the Obihiro service-park. Last year the Würth exhibition and sales booth was a meeting point for many teams, especially with a free barbeque and beer also made available.
Head of Marketing for Würth Japan Yoko Matsuura said “Rally Hokkaido is a big event for us and a great opportunity for marketing our products to the motoring industry, plus connecting directly with the teams, drivers, media and our local customers. We use the APRC media [photos and video] in many of our in-store and on-line promotions as it’s a great marketing tool. On event activities are very important too and we maximise the opportunities with APRC- Würth branded merchandise like caps, lanyards, pens and service–park signage”.
Rally Hokkaido has always been a pivotal point in the Asia-Pacific championship and it’s no different this year with the drivers’ title race still wide open. Czech driver Jan Kopecký may lead, but only by a mere eight points from his MRF Skoda team-mate Gaurav Gill. The Indian driver and 2013 APRC champion is hoping his experience of the unique Hokkaido roads will allow him to bridge the points gap.
“The strategy is going to be absolutely flat out from the word go in Japan,” said Gill. “That’s going to be a sort of decider for us. It will either make it or break it.”
Behind the leading duo, several other drivers are still in with a chance, especially with 39 points on offer for each of the remaining two driver title events; but they may have to rely on both of the Team MRF Skoda’s not finishing. While that is not impossible, it is unlikely given their reliability.
After Rally Hokkaido, the APRC moves to the China Rally based in the city of Longyou, 400 kilometres South-West of Shanghai. The China Rally is the final event for the APRC Drivers’ and manufacturers title, while the Thailand Rally is held a month later and acts as the final round the APRC Asia Cup, a sub-series held over the four Asian events – Malaysia, Japan, China and Thailand with points only considered from a team’s best three finishes across those events.