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Dale Moscatt teamed up with Martin Rowe and the Guizhou Kesuting (KST) Rally Team for the first time in the first round of the Chinese Rally Championship. The event was a success with the new team holding the lead at the end of day one, until a puncture dropped them to fourth on day two.

Cold and wet conditions greeted Rowe and Moscatt on their arrival to the 118 competitive kilometre event. The team set up base at the Tianma Racing Circuit, just outside of Shanghai, where they worked on the car set-up and preparation prior to the rally.

“We did do some testing at the track,” Moscatt said. “Conditions weren’t ideal though as it was wet and we were using worn rally tyres, which meant it was slippery. The rally itself is about 60% concrete and 40% gravel, so while this wasn’t the best test for us, it was good to have some time together in the car before the start.

“Reconnaissance was very hectic as usual. The local people here still aren’t sure of what it means to have a rally use their roads so there is usually the odd moment or two,” Moscatt added. “Martin hadn’t done this event before, despite having competed in the other rounds here, but we had a good recce and got all the dangerous areas into the notes so we were happy with that.

“The weather fined up for the rally and it was very competitive from the first stage. We were just 0.1 of a second behind Jarkko Meittinen, with David Higgins just a second behind us. Xu Lang and Kamada made up the top five but there was just two seconds between all five of us.

“All day the lead see sawed between us, Higgins and Miettinen. By the end of the day we had a lead of 1.8 seconds from Higgins, with Xu Lang next in third. Miettinen lost time and our team mates, Dong and Anthony McLoughlin, had a light roll on stage three.

“For day two it was all gloves off, but half way through the first stage we had a puncture on the front right with five kilometres to go. The tyre left the rim not long after. Even though we only lost 20 seconds, the times had been so close that we knew we’d lost the lead and victory was gone. We were pushing the car fairly hard after that and then it lost turbo pressure, which is ironically the same problem I had here with Xu Lang last year,” Moscatt said.

The pair did finish the event in fourth place and were happy despite not maintaining the lead.

“I was very pleased with our progress, considering we are a new team. To hold the lead on day one was excellent. On a professional and social level everything worked really well, both in the car and out. I am really looking forward to the next event with Martin and the KST Team,” Moscatt added.

The next round in the Chinese National Championship was to have been Pan Zhihua on May 19. This event has been cancelled, however, and teams are awaiting news of a replacement round. The following rounds currently stand at Liupanshui (14-16 July), Kaiyang (3-6 August), Yanji (1-3 September) and Longyou (11-13 November).

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