Atkinson ready for Proton debut in Rally Malaysia
- 24th April 2010, 8:18am
Rain and lots of it, is being predicted, especially in the afternoon over the Tai Tak Estate in Kota Tinggi, the venue of the two-day race, and the competitors are wondering what could happen next if the skies do open up.
For Alister McRae, the Scottish driver with an illustrious family background in rallying, the weather is a concern. He prefers it hot and sunny, typical of the Malaysian climate but then again he is prepared for the worst too.
"If it rains during the race, it would be very difficult for us who are here racing in Malaysia for the first time. The choice of tyres will be crucial," said the 39 year old who will be racing under the Proton R3 banner in a Satria Neo 2000 with co-driver Bill Hayes of Australia.
They are seen as potential winner, given their combined experience especially that of Alister who has accumulated a total of 78 events in the World Rally Championship in various categories and their latest podium finish was in the Scottish Rally last year.
"While we lack the experience competing in Malaysia, I believe we will make up for it with a competitive car," added Alister.
But the spotlight is also on the other Proton R3 challenge in the form of the partnership between Chris Atkinson of Australia and his Belgian partner Stephane Prevot.
The 31-year old Atkinson with his wealth of experience, having achieved a creditable 7th in the overall standing in the 2007 World Rally Championship, is seen an even bigger threat for the rest of the field.
The Japanese challenge is not be discounted either. With the experience Katsu Taguichi, a former World Rally Championship competitor, and his Australian co-driver Chris Murphy behind the wheels of a Mitsubishi Evo X, things could turn out differently.
"I have had the experience of racing here in Malaysia. Maybe the little knowledge I have can help me here," said Katsu.
There is also the challenge from India, provided by the pairing of Guarav Gill and his New Zealand partner Glen Macneal in a Mitsubishi Evo X under the MRF Tyres racing banner.
Perhaps Guarav's comment is an accurate reflection of what's going through the minds of the competitors when he said that the Malaysian leg of APRC 2010 is going to be tricky with so many uncertanties ahead.
"It's going to be a big challenge because you never know what's going to happen next," he said.
A total of 11 cars from seven countries will be at the flag off, a figure which Clerk of the Course, Tenku Shaharin Abu Bakar, described as very encouraging given the present financial climate in the world's economy, the APRC 2010, looks set for a thrilling finish over two days of gruelling competition across the ruts and bumps of the Tai Tak Estate.
There is a total of 589.56km and sixteen stages to cover but whatever the Malaysian weather maybe, the outcome of the APRC would bring home a worthy winner.
- Full access
- Exclusive news
- Store & Tour discounts