At the head of the field the Japanese based Cusco team had entered two cars – a Skoda R5 Fabia and a 4WD Toyota Vitz, an AP4 development car.
The team arrived in Malaysia eight days before the event to unpack their container that had been shipped from the last event in Australia, and set to work preparing the two cars.
The Cusco drivers and co-drivers arrived on Tuesday – Yuya Sumiyama a two-time Asia Cup champion with co-driver Takahiro Yasui, both from Japan.
After two events in the cooler Pacific countries of New Zealand and Australia where the ambient temperatures ranged from five to fifteen degrees, the temperature gauge in Malaysia sat around 34 degrees and 98% humidity.
The roads are a mixture of gravel and clay – a surface that gets as slippery as ice with just a drop of rain.
All competitors did survive and made it to the end of the rally, leaving everyone with a story to tell. None more so than fourth placed Malaysian, Abdul Kaathir, who’s co-driver Tri Arjuna had to visit the service-park ambulance after suffering from severe dehydration in the first loop of stages. Then near the start of stage 5 the pair crashed down a bank into a watery ditch, luckily not rolling over in the process.
Abhilash PG from India also went off on stage five and into a ditch after struggling with a broken driveshaft. Abhilash’s PGA Motorsports team repaired the damage and got him and co-driver Musa Sherif back in the rally for Sunday and onto the finish podium in third place.
There could have been even bigger problems for Sumiyama on day two, when he went off on stage 9 at a fast left and got stuck 50 metres from the road.
With a hint of a win, Young gave chase in the afternoon including winning the final test, but Sumiyama did enough to maintain the gap and bring his Skoda R5 first to the finish-line.
After multiple DNFs, second place for Young and Read felt like a win.
“This is for the Cusco team and TRD – they have worked so hard to get this point. This finish is for them,” said Young.
The next round of the Asia Pacific Rally Championship is Japan’s Rally Hokkaido in September.