Crocker third with one day to go
- 5th September 2009, 9:17pm
Driving the Les Walkden Rallying-prepared Subaru Impreza WRX STI, Crocker and co-driver, Ben Atkinson, are easily the leading Australians in the World Rally Championship field, sitting in 12th place outright.
After 23 stages in the P-WRC battle, they are 52.9 seconds behind the new leader, Czech driver Martin Prokop, in his Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9.
New Zealander Richard Mason, also in an Impreza WRX STI, is sandwiched between the two, 17.5 seconds off the lead and a handy 35.4 seconds ahead of Crocker.
The reigning Asia-Pacific Rally champion knows that it will need an error by either Mason or Prokop if he is to move further up the leader board by the end of the rally on Sunday.
Crocker is not facing much pressure from behind though, with the fourth-placed Japanese Subaru driver, Toshi Arai, nearly a minute further back. His major Australian rival, Neal Bates, was forced out of the rally early on the second day after his Corolla S2000 suffered a punctured radiator.
â€œWeâ€™ll just do what we always do, and that is push as hard as we can and keep the pressure on those guys above us,â€ Crocker said.
â€œWeâ€™re probably a bit further back than weâ€™d like. We lost a bit of time late in the day, otherwise weâ€™ve been right on the pace.
â€œThis was a super quick day. The roads are really fast and a great test, but weâ€™d probably like things a bit tighter to suit the Subaru.
â€œThe last day is also long and testing, so it wonâ€™t be a matter of anyone taking it easy and cruising to the finish line.
â€œâ€Weâ€™re excited about tomorrow. Weâ€™d definitely love to be on the podium in our home rally. It would be nice to creep into the top ten outright as well. But most of that is out of our control, so weâ€™ll just go out and push hard from the very outset in the morning.â€
Team boss, Les Walkden, is pleased with the progress of Crocker and Atkinson.
â€œCody and Ben have been doing what they do best â€“ being very consistent and setting very good times,â€ Walkden said.
â€œThis event is a long way from over. I reckon Cody will turn the wick up in the morning and weâ€™ll just have to wait and see what happens.â€
The final day takes in a further ten stages and nearly 120 competitive kilometres, finishing around 2.30pm. The field must also complete the two super special stages this evening.
Rally Australia, P-WRC Results â€“ end of Stage 23
1 Martin Prokop (CZ), Mitsubihsi Lancer Evo 9
2 Richard Mason (NZ), Subaru Impreza WRX STI, +17.5secs
3 Cody Crocker (AUS), Subaru Impreza WRX STI, +52.9s
4 Toshi Arai (J), Subaru Impreza WRX STI, +1:49.8
5 Armindo Araujo, (P), Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 +1:56.2
6 Stewart Taylor (NZ), Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9+3:02.6
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