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May 16, 2014 - 06:58 AM
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APRC Rally New Caledonia Preview
Posted by: newsla on May 16, 2014 - 06:58 AM
WRC Rally News 2010
APRC Rally New Caledonia Preview


The second round of the Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) is set to get underway tomorrow on the tropical island of New Caledonia, where current championship leader, Gaurav Gill, is one of the few drivers who has experience on the challenging island roads.

 

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With the roads around rally-base Noumea described as tricky, slippery, and potentially championship-damaging, Gill in his Team MRF Skoda Fabia S2000 and countryman Sanjay Takale are at an instant advantage, with other championship contenders only competing at this rally for the first time.

Gill says: “there is a good feeling with the car right now and that’s important, as I haven’t driven the car since New Zealand. But here the roads are really rough so you’re always trying to push harder, and find the perfect grip, every corner is different here so it’s a really unique rally. I’m looking forward to the weekend now.”

Takale, in a Cusco Racing Subaru Impreza, echoes Gill’s thoughts but adds the roads are more suited to his driving style.

“I think they [the roads] are better than last year. Some improvements like new fences in places and the roads have been rolled smooth. Other than some patchy grass in the first stage, the rest looks the same. So the roads suit my style and it’s been a lucky place for me in the past,” said Takale.

Meanwhile, APRC newcomer and current European Rally Champion, Jan Kopecký, heads to the island for the first time in his Team MRF Skoda S2000 but says he’s looking forward to the new challenge ahead of him.

Kopecký says: “I’m very happy to be here, the country is very nice. I think the stages will be more difficult to go through [than New Zealand] and I think it’s a matter of surviving. I have to say, it’s completely different to Europe.”

“It’s more a less, not about fighting, it’s more about surviving. Sometimes I think we’ll just be spectating in the car you know, we’ll just be going where the car wants to go in these very slippy conditions.”

Joining Kopecký as New Caledonia rookies, are Australian drivers; Mark Pedder and Tom Wilde, along with Kiwi driver, Michael Young, who are gearing up to go head-to-head again in New Caledonia but with Young vowing to take the gentle, consistent approach.

“It’s going to be quite tough for everyone as there’s not a lot of room for error. If you go slightly too wide, its either a tree, a hole or a rock to hit, so the notes are about driving tidy. While the roads are quite dry and grippy with the road tyres on at the moment, they’ve been rolled and are very hard and smooth. That means if it gets wet, the top layer of the road will be really slippery,” explained Young piloting his Cusco Racing Proton Satria Neo.

The Rallye New Caledonia will be held over a total distance of nearly 700 kilometres, of which 235km of that is competitive. Competitors will tackle 17 stages, the longest being the 17.10km ‘Paita’ test, which will be run three times. The rally is run north of the city of Noumea, with road conditions traditionally proving challenging, particularly if the weather is wet.

***
RC14 - Young - Big rocks and mud - Rallye New Caledonia challenge - APSMtv ms
Mike Young Motorsport - Team Preview

New Zealander, Michael Young, is set to compete in Rallye New Caledonia, the second round of the Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) this weekend, for the first time.

But while it is Young’s first time driving on the roads around the tropical island, he has visited New Caledonia as a child, and is surrounded by experienced crew who know the country well.

Young says: “I was only nine years old when I was here last time, and I don’t remember much. Luckily my team have a lot of experience here, like Malcolm [Read, co-driver], who has attended this rally quite a few times as a mechanic. So I’m pretty lucky and I’m sure that will be helpful.”

Sanjay Takale - Team Preview

Indian driver Sanjay Takale is in New Caledonia preparing for round 2 of the 2014 Asia Pacific Rally Championship. At the 2013 event Takale finished 2nd in APRC and is hoping for a repeat result this year.

APRC TV talked to him after the first day of recce.

What did you think of the roads today?
ST: I think they are better than last year, some improvements like new fences in places and the roads have been rolled smooth. Other than some patchy grass in the first stage, the rest looks the same.

Team MRF - Team Preview

Fresh from finishing first and second in the opening round of the 2014 Asia-Pacific Rally Championship, Team MRF head into this weekend’s Rallye New Caledonia full of confidence.

Driving their Skoda Fabia Super 2000s, the team’s multi-national driving line-up was the class of the field in New Zealand’s Rally of Whangarei, with Indian Gaurav Gill and Australian co-driver, Glenn Macneall, taking victory.

Just 11.9 seconds behind were their Czech team-mates, Jan Kopecky and Pavel Dresler, who were making their APRC debut.

Gill won the Rallye New Caledonia last year, and knows the stages well. In a recent interview, he commented that his driving has become more refined over recent seasons.

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