MRF to field three cars in Asia Pacific Rally

April 2nd, 2008 - 9:04 pm ICT by admin  

Chennai, April 2 (IANS) Team MRF have signed up Australian Scott Pedder, a relatively lightweight rally driver as their second choice in a three-car line-up for the 2008 Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC). Peder replaces Jussi Valimakki of Finland who was driving for MRF for the past couple of seasons.

The series, that also includes Asia Cup and Pacific Cup championships, comprises seven rounds and MRF will participate in six of these while opting out of Rally of China. Last year, the Rally of China proved to be problematic for the MRF team in terms of logistics.

Besides the 32-year-old Pedder (co-driver Glen Weston team), MRF have kept their faith in Japanese veteran Katsuhiko Taguchi (Mark Stacey team) who is the team’s first choice and 2007 Indian champion Gaurav Gill (Glen Macneall and John Mortimer team).

The 2008 season commences with Rally of New Caledonia to be held in April 12-13 in which MRF have entered Taguchi and Pedder, while Gill is likely to begin his second year in the championship in the Rally of Canberra slated for May 10-11 as he is still to recover from a knee surgery following a two-wheeler accident.

All three MRF teams will be driving Mitsubishi Evolution 9, which has been serviced by Lee Heenan and Race Torque team.

The other APRC events in which MRF are participating are Rally of Whangarei (New Zealand, June 7-8), Rally of Japan (Obihiro, July 12-13), Rally of Indonesia (Makassar, Aug 23-24) and Rally of Malaysia (Johor Bahru, Oct 11-12).

Meanwhile, reigning APRC champion Cody Crocker (Subaru) will kick-start his campaign in Canberra after skipping New Caledonia.

Unconfirmed reports suggest that former double APRC champion Karamjit Singh (Malaysia) is likely to contest in the Asia Cup rounds.

The competitors have a choice of registering for Asia Cup (Japan, Malaysia, Indonesia and China) or Pacific Cup (New Caledonia, New Zealand and Australia) but will have to compete in a minimum of three rounds. They can also enter the full APRC series (minimum six rounds).

This year, the championship promises to be far more competitive than in the past with restrictions on choice of tyres that the regulations insist “should be readily available commercially”.

The new regulation is in view of Crocker using World Rally Championship tyres that were infinitely superior to those used by other teams in terms of grip and endurance.

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