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Seven drivers line up for weekend’s China Rally Longyou, the final round of the 2019 FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship, to decide the overall champion. In a winner-takes-all showdown, any one of the seven teams starting are in with an equal chance of the overall crown. Standing in their way are 13 special stages, covering 220.82km of in-land Chinese rural roads, threaded through the bamboo forest region of Longyou. Competition starts on the Friday afternoon with a 1.82km super special stage, ahead of a repeat loop of three stages on the Saturday. Sunday’s repeated loop of three stages culminates in the overall winner and APRC champion being crowned at the RongChang Square ceremonial finish. Of the seven teams entered, three are from Japan, three from New Zealand and one from China. While Japan’s Katsu Taguchi lifted the title in 2010 and New Zealand’s Possum Bourne in 2000, there exists a real possibility Chinese driver Lin Dewei could add his name to the list of champions. Sub to the overall is the final round of the Asia Cup – led by New Zealand’s Mike Young. With a nearly insurmountable lead for the cup, Japan’s Suguru Kawana will be laying in wait for any opportunity to leap-frog Young to the top of the standings. Of the variables for the weekend, weather isn’t likely to be one of them. Temperate conditions of 25degC and calm dry weather are predicted.

Jack Hawkeswood will contest the APRC finale in China. Photos: Peter Whitten

Round 8 Entry List – Asia Cup and overall
  1. Nao Otake/Noriko Takeshita, JPN, Toyota Vitz, Cusco Racing, A/N
  2. Mike Young/Malcolm Read, NZL, Toyota C-HR, Cusco Racing, A/N
  3. Suguru Kawana/Takahiro Yasui, JPN, Citroen DS3 R3, Cusco Racing, A/N
  4. Yuki Kohama/Megum Fujita, JPN, Toyota Yaris, Cusco Racing, A/N
  5. Andrew Hawkeswood/Jeff Cress, NZL, Mazda 2, Mazda Team, P/N/T
  6. Jack Hawkeswood/Alex Parkin, NZL, Mazda 2, Mazda Team, P/N/T
  7. Lin Dewei/Le Kepeng, CHN/TPE, Subaru XV, Subaru Rally Team China, A
Event information:
  • Total distance: 673.10km,
  • Competitive distance: 220.82km,
  • Mix of gravel/concrete surface special stages,
  • Number of Special Stages: 13,
  • Longest Special Stage: 25.2km Da Jie (used twice on Sunday),
  • First stage is the 1.82km Super Special Stage, Friday afternoon, from 1400hrs - Shiyuan Track, 14km from the service park,
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