Great start to APRC for Aussie Willson
- 16th April 2012, 9:16am
Rally Whangarei was another successful event for Australian co-driver, Daniel Willson, who competed with New Zealand's Mike Young, driving a Cusco-prepared Proton Satria Neo.
The crew were entered in the Asia Pacific Rally Championship's Junior Cup, competing against drivers from Malaysia and Japan. The toughest competition would come from last year's champion, Akira Bamba.
The boys carried out a good recce, confident that their pace notes were a good representation of the fast, flowing and cambered roads which were in great shape for round 1 of the 2012 APRC.
Shakedown went well with Young and Willson finishing third fastest 2WD, showing some good speed against much more fancied rivals including Karamjit Singh.
After some problems with dust on the first loop of stages and a big jump off a bridge, the boys arrived at the first service of the day running a pleasing second to Bamba.
The hardworking service crew gave the car a checkover and fitted a new set of tyres ready for the boys to tackle the afternoon's group of stages which were a repeat of the morning ones. Some time was made up, including winning a stage, which helped to close the gap to Bamba.
After a fantastic day, Young and Willson kept the pressure on much more experienced crews.
The boys planned to keep the pressure on Bamba during day 2 to gain valuable points towards their Junior Cup campaign. When a rare mistake was made by the 2011 champion, which saw him slip off the road, Young and Willson felt the pressure was on them now to maintain the lead which they had taken.
The next few stages were taken at a sensible pace which would see the young duo finish the event in a very strong position - first Junior Cup and second in Class 9 behind Singh.
This win is a fantastic start to the season and the pressure is now on to find enough funding to compete in the next event - Rally Queensland in May.
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