Crocker on target for Rally Indonesia victory
- 23rd August 2008, 7:20pm
Crocker holds a handy 32 second buffer over his main championship rival, Japan’s Katsu Taguchi, with another six stages still to be negotiated.
A win in Indonesia will put Crocker in a dominant position to win his third straight APRC title with just two rounds to go.
While the result was good, the situation could have been even better had it not been for Crocker’s ability to drive around a problem that dogged his car for most of the day.
A camshaft sensor failure left his Impreza WRX STI underpowered across the morning’s group of four stages, and while the problem was rectified for the repeat run in the afternoon, Crocker and co-driver Ben Atkinson finished the leg only 35 seconds behind the outright leader, Indonesia’s Gaurav Gill.
At the midday service Crocker was actually one minute and nine seconds behind Gill and was pleased to move within striking distance of the local driver with another 85 competitive kilometres tomorrow.
“We’re very, very happy with second place, considering we did the whole of the first four stages with an engine that was not it’s normal self,” Crocker said.
“Fortunately the guys were able to fix that problem before the second group of stages and we were able to push on.
“We chose the wrong tyres for the afternoon stages, and didn’t cut them enough, so we didn’t pull back as much time as we would have liked, but overall, we’re happy with the outcome, everything considered.
“It’s been extremely hot – around 32 degrees with very high humidity – and that has made it especially hard to keep concentrating on the long stages. Conditions have been really dry and dusty, and on some of the tighter stages, the route switches back on itself, so you find yourself driving in your own dust, which is not easy.
“The route is rougher than last year, with some big rocks on the stages. They’ve regraded some of the roads, but that has just made some of the jumps a bit sharper, so we’ve been flying a bit. There are also a lot of deep ruts across some of the roads.
“The crew will rebuild the shock absorbers tonight and if it all goes well, I think it should be possible to take the outright lead tomorrow.
“As it stands now, we’re in front of Katsu, and if we can finish ahead of him we should regain the championship lead heading in to the next round in Malaysia, and that is our major goal. The outright win is always nice, but our job is to take the championship.”
Results after Day 1
1. Gaurav Gill / Jagdev Singh, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX, 1h50m16s
2. Cody Crocker / Ben Atkinson, Subaru Impreza WRX, +35s (diff. to 1st)
3. Katsu Taguchi / Mark Stacey, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX, +1m07s
4. Rifat Sungkar / Bill Hayes, Subaru Impreza WRX, +3m34s
5. Subhan Aksa / Hade Mboi, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX, +4m51s
6. Rizal Sungkar / Anthony Sarwono, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VIII, +5m23s
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