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Chinese National Rally Champion, Xu Lang, has chosen Telstra Rally Australia as a testing ground in the hope of launching a campaign in the FIA Production car World Rally Championship for 2007.

Lang from Wuyi, Zhejian province, wants to gain more experience on the international scene so the 29 year-old said it made perfect sense to come to Perth for Telstra Rally Australia.

Driving a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 8, Lang will be co-driven by 2005 NEC Australian Rally Championship co-driver Dale Moscatt. Moscatt and Lang have only rallied four events together. Moscatt’s job on-event is to call out descriptions of the stages to Lang, but as Moscatt has confessed his knowledge of Chinese languages is non-existent, Lang is studying English, has learned all the words needed for inside the car and is fast learning the words needed to communicate with the team and mechanics!

Lang has experience outside of China, having contested the gruelling Dakar cross country rally twice, finishing 19th outright and second in the production category in 2006. It’s these kind of tough and technical rallies that Lang says he is best on. A keen gym junkie, Lang can handle wrestling his car on rough surfaces, so his outing at Telstra Rally Australia is to give him more experience on faster stages.

Lang’s rallying has been supported by a long partnership with Yokohama tyres. While Yokohama is not widely used in the world rally championship, Lang won the Chinese title on these tyres and used them in the West Australian round of the ARC earlier this year, which he says will give him a lot of confidence. The man that Lang will most want to follow, the leader in a Group N car for this event - Fumio Nutahara, is the only other top competitor running Yokohama tyres so Lang will have plenty of competitive opposition.

Lang has only been competing in rallying since 2000, but has big plans for the future. His entry into Telstra Rally Australia has been accompanied by Chinese media, who will come to Perth to follow his progress. China’s motorsport governing body, the FASC, are also keeping an eye on Lang and are keen to support China’s first competitive foray into the FIA World Rally Championship. With this in mind, Lang and Moscatt will approach Telstra Rally Australia strategically.

“Our first aim is to stay on the road for the entire event to gain the maximum amount of kilometres in the car,” said co-driver Moscatt. “But we also want to also get a good feel for what would be needed to compete in the series in the future.” Moscatt added that the team have good contacts in Australia and the event will be a valuable learning experience for them to gauge how both the WRC and P-WRC series are run.

To follow China’s rising star at Telstra Rally Australia, spectators can buy tickets for as little as $20 from Ticketmaster on 1300 136 122 or visit www.rallyaustralia.com for more information.

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