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MRF Tyres Rally Team Driver Scott Pedder and co-driver Glen Weston got their first taste of their new Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX that they will campaign in the 2008 Asia-Pacific Rally Championship.

Despite being the same model Lancer to what Pedder and Weston campaigned in the 2006 Australian Rally Championship with Team Mitsubishi Ralliart Australia, Pedder was quick to note that there were several differences.

“Probably the biggest difference, and the major reason for this brief test, was to get me used to driving left hand drive which is obviously something very very new to me! Despite some close shaves on the right hand side of the car and a few missed gears early on it became very familiar very quickly.”

Pedder was also very excited about the performance of the car.

“The car is very impressive. Most importantly it is incredibly easy to drive which I think is pivotal to our chances in a championship we haven’t been to before and with such a diverse range of climates road conditions and environments. Given the change of driving position and my length of time out of the seat I thought it would have taken me longer to get back up to speed but full credit to the Race Torque team for producing a superb overall package. Of course this is not a surprise to me given their speed and success in the championship over a long period of time.”

For Pedder and Weston their 2008 campaign kicks off in just over 4 weeks with the first round of the Asia-Pacific taking place in New Caledonia. A strong start is pivotal to their season Pedder suggests.

“New Caledonia is especially important not only because it is the first round of the championship but because as history would dictate the event may be missed by Cody Crocker and the Motor Image Team. I have seen some footage of the event and it looks very similar to some of the stages we do in Rally Queensland, narrow, twisty through rainforests dispersed with some ridge-lined sections and also some very fast forestry roads – and sometimes all in the one stage!”

The Asia-Pacific Rally Championship is one of the world’s most prestigious rally championships with past winners representing some of the biggest names in world rallying. The 2008 APRC features seven events (crews nominate six) and highlights the diversity of terrain and climate that makes this championship truly unique. Following is the 2008 Asia Pacific Rally Championship Calendar.

FIA ASIA PACIFIC RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP - 2008
1. 12-13 April Rallye de Nouvelle Caledonia
2. 10-11 May Rally of Canberra - Australia
3. 07-08 June Rally of Whangarei - New Zealand
4. 11-13 July Rally Hokkaido - Japan
5. 22-24 August Gudang Garam International Rally Indonesia - Makasar
6. 11-12 October Malaysian Rally
7. 08-09 November China Rally

View in-car footage of the test session HERE

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