Aussies Crocker, Herridge take China Rally 1-2
- 16th November 2009, 9:44am
FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship and Guanghe-Xinhu Scenery Garden Cup China Rally Longyou 2009, which also serves as the last event of the 2009 FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championships (APRC), came to a conclusion in a fashionable style in Longyou, Zhejiang province as Cody Crocker of Australia from Motor Image Racing Team won the rally to complete a perfect 2009 APRC season. Xu Jun from Team Hongyun Honghe leads the standings of Chinese drivers.
The six special stages of the last day race took place in Sanmenyuan and Hengshan and drivers had to race three times, which lasted 99.09 kilometres. The temperature lowered to 8 degrees and the heavy rain also increased the difficulties for drivers to complete their plan. Adding to their misery, the difference of altitude above sea level caused heavy fog and made the race unpredictable.
Four-time APRC champion Crocker proved his status as number 1 in finishing the stages first and wrapped up a perfect APRC season.
“I’m so glad to finish the season with an overall title in the Longyou rally. It’s been a tough race today for me, especially the heavy rain,” said Crocker, who finished the Longyou rally in 3 hours, 40 minutes and 47.6 seconds. The victory is also Crocker’s third straight win in Longyou. He is also the winner of the 2009 FIA Asia Cup.
Dean Herridge from Subaru Rally Team, followed by Team FCACA’s Jari Ketomaa finished second and third respectively.
Rifat Sungkar from Pertamina Prima XP Rally finished fourth overall, Yuya Sumiyama from Cusco Racing, and Crocker’s teammate Emma Gilmour finished fifth and sixth. These three drivers also settled for second, third and fourth in the FIA Asia Cup competition.
Longyou Rally also served as the fourth event of the 2009 China Rally Championship(CRC). Xu Jun from Team Hongyun Honghe claimed the title of Chinese drivers. As his opponent made mistakes one after another, Xu Jun managed to hold on and was the first to pass the finishing line.
“I did not expect to win the race because my arm suffered during the race. It’s impossible for me to pull the hand brake,” said Xu. “But I had the chance after two contenders pulled out of the race. I tried to keep consistent later on and won the stage. It’s my first title and I’m so happy.”
Team FCACA’s Han Han lagged far behind after the first-day race but managed to catch up yesterday, finally finishing in second. Southeast Motor Wanyu Team’s Fan Fan came in third place.
In the Group S in CRC, Chen De’an and Qin Fawei made it one-two for Team Volkswagen Qingyang Golf at the S3 group (2.0 litre) . It’s a breakthrough for Chen as he has never managed to finish the Longyou rally since 2003.
“It was raining in the last stage and made the race difficult. My teammate Qin also caught up in the last distance but I held on and won,” said a jubilant Chen. “I think all the drivers did a very good job as it’s such a tough race. But it’s a greater day for me as I failed to finish the rally here in the past years. Things were even worse last year as I had to withdraw at the last minute when I was leading.”
Wang Xiang from Team Chaoyang Tire finished in third place.
The tough race was highlighted in the S2 group (1.6 litre) as only two out of the nine cars finished the competition. Liu Bin from Team Volkswagen Skoda and Red Bull won the title after a solid show, followed by Jin Binbin from Team Yiwu Rally.
In the S1 group (1.4 litre), Li Dawei from Team Maxxis Tires was crowned the winner and Wen Fan from Team Chongqing Lifan 320 was second. Wen’s teammate Liu Jing came in third.
Only 33, out of the total 81 cars (41 percent), managed to finish the race and underlined Longyou’s image as a really tough race.
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