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Martin Rowe and Dale Moscatt have arrived in Shanghai from opposite ends of the planet ready for what will be their first event together as a team. The duo have both competed successfully in China in past years and with their sights set firmly on outright results for their team in 2007, they hope that this will be their lucky year.

Dale will be joining Martin as part of the Guizhou Kesuting (KST) Rally Team. The KST Team have been a strong force over the past few seasons, resulting in them taking the team and driver’s championships last year. The team will also run a car for reigning Chinese champion, Liu CaoDong, and Queensland co-driver Anthony McLoughlin. Fellow Australian Neil Lowe will be the engineer in charge of the team.

“I have had a little bit to do with this team in the past,” said Dale. “And there is a good atmosphere amongst them. I’m really looking forward to being part of that during this season. Having an English speaking driver, engineer and team mates will also be a big help.

“Dong speaks very good English as well, having completed his education in New Zealand. It can be quite difficult competing here when you don’t speak the language, so this year should be easier for me than it has been in the past,” explained Dale.

The Shanghai round is based around an hour and a half’s drive from Shanghai itself.

“I’m led to believe the stages this year are similar to 2006,” said Dale. “There are 10 stages in the rally, two different stages run three times each on Saturday and then the same two stages reversed, run twice on Sunday. The stages are 10 and 13.5 kilometres long which will give us 118 competitive kilometres.

“The roads were around 60% gravel and 40% concrete and bitumen in 2006,” explained Dale.  “There were a lot of long straights and square junctions and there are also a lot of bridges which form jumps. Some of these you can take flat out and others you can’t, as I found out last year while teamed with Xu Lang. We took one bridge jump too fast and damaged the intercooler pipe, which dropped us to second place for the event.

“In 2005 this was the first event I did with Cody Crocker and we won, so I’m hoping for a similar transition again this time with Martin,” he added. “Martin hasn’t done this round before but he does have a lot of experience here in China and has been studying my in-car footage of this event.

“We are still not 100% sure of what to expect weather wise. In 2005 it snowed on the Saturday and was just six degrees, and then on Sunday it was 25 and quite warm. They have been experiencing a cold snap up here over the last couple of weeks so we’ll just have to wait and see, but the road conditions will definitely vary a lot, depending on what happens with the weather.”

Currently rain is predicted for Shanghai this weekend with temperatures between 10 and 17 celcius.

The car the team are using for the season will be a Michelin-shod Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9.

“We will be doing some development testing on the car before the rally and we will also be spending some time getting used to each other in the car as well,” said Dale.

The Chinese National Championship will also include rounds in Pan Zhihua (19-21 May), Liupanshui (14-16 July), Kaiyang (3-6 August), Yanji (1-3 September) and Longyou (11-13 November). A further release will follow at the completion of this event.

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