Subaru rally driver Cody Crocker has surged to the top of the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship after taking the maximum 16 points on offer at the Rally of Whangarei in New Zealand, the third round of the series.

Just as in Canberra last month, Crocker, driving the MotorImage Impreza WRX STI, was the fastest APRC competitor on both days, and was also the quickest overall. He now has a total of 32 points, two clear of his nearest rival, Japan’s Katsu Taguchi. Fellow Subaru driver Dean Herridge is in third place with 26 points.

Crocker finished third outright in the Rally, with overnight leader Chris West holding on to take the victory over fellow-Kiwi Hayden Paddon.

Taguchi gained 14 points in New Zealand, finishing second on both days and second overall of the APRC drivers. Scott Pedder had his best APRC result, placing third each day and third overall. Dean Herridge gained five points for finishing fourth overall.

Crocker and co-driver Ben Atkinson were delighted to reclaim the series lead in their quest for a third straight APRC title.

“We missed the first round, so to get to the lead in the Championship after our first two events is great,” Crocker said.

“Except for our small issue yesterday with the wheel bearing going, we had a perfect run across the two days.

“The roads were certainly better for us today. There was a fair bit of rain overnight so that helped to bind the road together and we had a lot more grip.

“We went with the same soft, wide Pirelli tyres as yesterday and they seemed to work really well again.”

“We’re right where we wanted to be now in the Championship. Japan will be tough though as Taguchi is always strong at his home event.

“So when we get to Japan we’ll just work on keeping close to him and hopefully we can get ahead by the end of the rally.

“He’ll be our focus for sure.”

The Rally of Hokkaido takes place on July 12 and 13.

APRC Results – Rally of Whangarei

1. C Crocker (Aus)/B Atkinson, Subaru Impreza WRX STI, 2:38:18.0
2. K Taguchi (Jap)/M Stacey (Aus), Mitsubishi lancer Evo IX, 2:40.25.4
3. S Pedder (Aus)/G Weston (Aus), Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX, 2:41:45.8
4. D Herridge (Aus)/C Murphy (Aus), Subaru Impreza WRX STI, 2:43:10.1
5 H Yanagisawa (Jap)/Y Nakahara (Jap), Subaru Impreza WRX STI, 2:43.29.3
6. R Sungkar (Ind))/B Hayes (Aus), Subaru Impreza WRX STI, 2:46:05.4
7. B Green (NZ)/F Pedersen (NZ), Mitsubishi Lancer Evo, 2:49:39.4
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