Takale fighting for championship comeback

Sanjay Takale, Rally of Queensland 2016Rally driver Sanjay Takale is determined to make a Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) comeback at this weekend’s International Rally of Queensland, the second round of the championship, held on Australia’s Sunshine Coast after a disappointing start to his campaign.

Takale, from Pune in India, says the International Rally of Queensland is extremely important for him if he wants to keep his international APRC dreams alive.

“This is the most crucial rally for me… I simply need to stay afloat and be in [championship] contention before the season moves into Asia,” said Takale.

“Let’s hope Australia will bring luck to me this year. My team has been working hard since Whangarei [New Zealand, round one APRC] where my car had some technical problems. However, I come here with a fresh start and I really enjoy the fast narrow roads so that is good.”

The first round of the APRC ended in disappointment for Takale as a throttle sensor malfunctioned, forcing him into retirement on the first day. Despite re-joining for the second day of the event, Takale was still unable to score any points after contact with a concrete bridge, resulting in some damage to his Cusco Racing Subaru.

Again piloting the same Cusco Racing Subaru Impreza, Takale is once more joined by expert Japanese co-driver Noriko Takeshita who Takale says is very experienced in this part of the world so will be a big advantage for him. Interestingly, Takeshita previously co-drove for former World Rally Championship (WRC) driver Toshihiro Arai.

Takale will need all of the experience Takeshita can offer as he wants to go head-to-head with both compatriot Gaurav Gill in a Skoda Fabia R5 and team-mate Michael Young.

“Every other competitor is a rival for me,” said Takale, “I think Gaurav Gill is my biggest rival even though he drives a much superior R5 car, but in motorsports, you never know what is going to hit you. I would really like to challenge both him [Gill] and Michael [Young].”

The International Rally of Queensland gets underway with a ceremonial start on Friday at Black Swan Park near the Maroochydore waterfront. Teams then contest 240 competitive kilometres across 16 closed special stages on Saturday and Sunday before finishing at the Imbil Showgrounds, near the rally stages.