It was a disappointing first round in the Asia Pacific Rally Champinoship (APRC) for Indian rally driver Sanjay Takale, after he failed to score points at the International Rally of Whangarei in New Zealand this weekend.
An electrical problem on day one saw Takale and Japanese co-driver Noriko Takeshita temporarily withdraw from the event held around the Northland region with the intention to re-join the rally action on Sunday.
Re-joining the event on Sunday meant Takale and Takeshita could score valuable championship points, along with the added bonus of experience on New Zealand roads, however disaster struck the newly formed duo again.
During the first stage on Sunday morning, Takale made light contact on the exit of a bridge after cutting the corner a little too much which resulted in some damage.
“We cut the exit of the bridge by a centimetre or something. We realised it may be some damage and continued for a few kilometres before we realised it was a puncture and put the car at high speed into the bank,” said Takale.
“We went onto the bank and managed to stop the car but I think the suspension was damaged. We did change the wheel later but it was brushing against the car so we couldn’t go faster so it was safer to retire.”
Takale and his Cusco Racing team now turn their attention to the next round of the APRC held in Australia next month.
“What has happened has happened. You always try to do well and always want to do well but sometimes you have bad luck or sometimes off the line by one centimetre. It’s always part of the game and you just have to move forward I guess. I am really looking forward to Australia and it’s always a great rally,” explained Takale.
“It was also fantastic to see my team-mate Michael [Young] finish third this weekend. We enjoy racing together so of course I wanted to be there to support him,” said Takale at the final service, where he congratulated Young on his success.
The next round on Takale’s calendar is based around Australia’s Sunshine Coast at the International Rally of Queensland on 18 and 19 June. It is the second round based around the Pacific region and will see crews battle it out over 16 closed special stages totalling 240 kilometres.