Subaru rally driver, Cody Crocker, leads the Rally of Malaysia after the first of two days, and now has his sights set on a third consecutive Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) title.

In extremely hot conditions, with temperatures reaching 36 degrees, Crocker's MotorImage Impreza WRX STI set the early pace, outlasting the charge from Japan’s Katsu Taguchi when the Mitsubishi driver slid off the road as a torrential downpour turned the stages into rivers.

With his championship rival out, Crocker’s Leg 1 lead gives him three bonus points in the APRC, and he now only needs to finish Leg 2 to secure a hat-trick of championship victories.

“We had a good day, but the rain on the last few stages really made it a challenge,” Crocker said. “I don’t want to start thinking about the title just yet, because we have to get through tomorrow, but it’s getting pretty close.

“I had a spin and a small off-road excursion in the wet today, but others suffered more than we did. The car was good to drive, and I think our previous experience from this event paid off.”

The second day of the Rally of Malaysia entails a further six stages.

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