Subaru driver, Cody Crocker, has taken his Les Walkden Rallying Impreza WRX STI to victory in Rally Malaysia and extended his lead in the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship after a testing weekend of competition.
Crocker took the outright honours by two minutes 34 seconds from Jarko Miettinen with Japan’s Katsu Taguchi third.
The Victorian driver was the second fastest across Sunday’s six stages, so added two bonus points to the three he scored yesterday as the fastest in Leg One. Added to the ten he takes as the winner, he now has 63 championship points, 24 clear of Taguchi on 39, with Indonesia’s Rifat Sungkar third on 31 points.
Fellow Les Walkden Rallying driver, Eli Evans, finished in seventh place outright and remains in fifth place on the points table with 19 points.
Underlining his dominance of the APRC this year, Crocker has scored 63 points from a possible maximum score of 64.
But being the fastest today and keeping the perfect score intact was a low priority compared to safely negotiating the remaining 78 kilometres and getting to the end as the event victor.
Crocker, who has won the last three Australian Rally Championship titles, is desperate to add the Asia-Pacific Championship title to his impressive career record.
“This event was vital to us, being the first time we’ve been here, and we couldn’t afford any mistakes or problems,” Crocker said.
“But we kept right out of trouble all weekend and the car has been fantastic once again. When you have confidence in your car it gives you so much more confidence to drive harder.”
“It was incredibly hot, getting to around 45 degrees in the car and when the sun came out it was absolutely scorching.”
“But we’ve come through well. Ben (Atkinson) did a great job calling the notes and we now have a handy 24 point buffer, which is getting to the point of giving us some confidence that we can win this championship.”
Evans was exhausted by the end of the day but knew he had learnt a great deal from the experience.
“This was definitely the toughest rally that I’ve ever done,” Evans said.
“The heat is one element but the roads are really difficult as well.”
“You just don’t seem to get any flow and even when you think you’ve worked it out you find out at the next corner that you haven’t.”
“Still, this is a learning year for me. It is all part of my education which I’m sure is making me a better rally driver.”
By Ian Chesterman
Results – 2006 Rally Malaysia (Provisional)
1 C Crocker (Aus), B Atkinson (Aus), Subaru Impreza WRX STI
2 J Miettinen (Fin), L Malley (Fin), Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX, +2 mins 34 secs
3 K Taguchi (J), M Stacey (Aus), Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX, +2:36
4 H Yanagisawa (J), T Misaizu (J), Subaru Impreza WRX STI, +4:54
5 R Sungkar (RI), R Swarwano (RI), Proton Pert, + 12:34
6 S Aksa (RI)/ H Mboi (RI), Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 8, +14:16
7 E Evans (Aus), C Murphy (Aus), Subaru Impreza WRX STI, +16:56
8 D Malley (NZ), S Malley (NZ), Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 8, +27:58
APRC Points (Provisional)
1 C Crocker (Australia), Subaru, 63
2 K Taguchi (Japan), Mitsubishi, 39
3 R Sungkar (Indonesia), Mitsubishi, 31
4 H Yangisawa, Japan, 26
5 E Evans, (Australia), Subaru, 19
6 J Mietten (Finland), Mitsubishi, 16