Young aiming for top in Japan

Mike Young, Rally Whangarei 2016 testingMike Young is set to return to the Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) in Japan this weekend to challenge for a podium finish, after his successful Rally China campaign where he debuted a hybrid car in a world first.

The 23-year-old says Rally Hokkaido, held in northern Japan, is one of his favourite events on the calendar and he’s looking forward to the challenges it is bound to throw up this year. “They’ve had a lot of rain over the last few weeks which has probably affected a lot of the roads, so I’m sure it will be a little trickier than usual,” said Young.

“However, I know all the stages and we have in car [footage] from last year that we can use to really refine our pace notes, so we should be able to challenge for a podium result in our Cusco EZY Racing Subaru.”

Young also vows to put pressure on the two Skoda Fabia R5 cars which have extended their lead in the championship after Young was not eligible to score championship points at the previous round in China. However, he admits it won’t be easy. “Both Gaurav [Gill] and Fabian [Kreim] have been driving very well this year, but I think I can put pressure on them as I have a lot of experience on these roads and they [the roads] really suit my driving style. Plus having Malcolm [Read] back in the car will help me push that little bit further,” explained Young.

Malcolm Read and Mike YoungRead, from Hamilton, has also competed at Rally Hokkaido numerous times and has been getting regular seat time in the New Zealand Rally Championship, and even in Sri Lanka since Rally Queensland (round two, APRC), meaning he brings a wealth of experience to the car.

Meanwhile, Young has only had one day behind the wheel of a rally car at a rally school in Perth, where he gives rally-newbies a taste of the sport, although adds he still feels confident with the Cusco EZY Racing Subaru Impreza.
“The Cusco EZY Racing Subaru is my favourite rally car. I know how it handles, it’s reliable, and the Cusco team always has it setup perfectly, which gives me a lot of confidence,” said Young.

Rally Hokkaido gets underway on Friday night with one short super special stage, before two days of competition across 177.12 kilometres and 16 special stages. The rally will finish at approximately 14.50 local time on Sunday (17.50 New Zealand time).

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Young’s campaign is supported by Cusco, EZY Racing, Dunlop, Dreams India, Yoda Rally, Verandah Apartments and KOS Sunglasses.