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Crocker looks to maintain perfect points in Malaysia

 

Subaru rally driver, Cody Crocker, is in Malaysia this weekend looking to maintain his perfect points score in his quest for a first Asia-Pacific Rally Championship.

Subaru rally driver, Cody Crocker, is in Malaysia this weekend looking to maintain his perfect points score in his quest for a first Asia-Pacific Rally Championship.

Crocker, who has dominated the Australian Rally Championship for the past three years, has taken maximum points at each of his three outings on the international stage this year - in Canberra (Australia), Rotorua (New Zealand) and Hokkaido (Japan).

Driving a Subaru Impreza WRX STI, prepared by Tasmania's Les Walkden Rallying, Crocker sits on top of the Asia-Pacific Championship points table on 48, 18 clear of his nearest rival, Mitsubishi driver Katsuhiko Taguchi from Japan.

Rifat Sungar from Indonesia is third with 27 points, Japan's Hiroshi Yanagisawa fourth with 19 and young Australian, Eli Evans, also driving for Les Walkden Rallying, is fifth with 17 points.

This weekend's Rally Malaysia will be the toughest test yet for the two Australians, as they must contend not just with unfamiliar roads but also the sapping heat of south-east Asia for the first time.

"The temperatures we will experience inside the car will be unbelievable, and it will certainly challenge our concentration skills and fitness as we get towards the end of each day," Crocker said.

"But that is something we are just going to have to learn to deal with. We know we come here in great form with a car that has performed faultlessly all season. So we are in good shape and feeling confident."

"We have dropped the one event allowed under the rules so now every rally for us is vital."

"If we can walk away from here with another strong points score in this rally it is really going to increase our championship aspirations with just a further two events remaining."

"The roads are very tight and windy through the palm oil plantations, producing low average speeds."

"If it rains, and we expect that it will in the afternoons, the roads will be extremely slippery and I'm going to have to be very careful as I've never driven in Malaysia before and so my local knowledge is zero."

Crocker will once again be joined by Ben Atkinson calling the notes while Evans will team with Chris Murphy for the first time.

Evans has undergone a remarkable transformation in 2006, from relative rookie on the domestic circuit to matching the speeds of the region's best drivers.

"It has been a big learning curve for us, and we just want to continue that progression this weekend in Malaysia," Evans said.

"In Japan we started off very conservatively but definitely got faster the longer the weekend went."

"I hope we can start off at the pace we finished with in Hokkaido and then get faster again. But it is all about consistency and we definitely want to bring the car home in good shape on Sunday."

After Rally Malaysia, Rally of Indonesia (September 15-17) and Rally China (November 25-27) complete the season.

The Malaysian event starts on Saturday morning. Leg One takes in eight stages across 148.8 kilometres while Leg Two on Sunday consists of 78.70 kilometres across six stages.

Ian Chesterman


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