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With two months now passed since Xu Lang and Dale Moscatt took to the roads of West Australia’s Forest Rally, the team are now keen to build on their current lead back in the Chinese National Championship.

Xu Lang was unlucky to have missed the Coates Rally Queensland after a motorbike accident. He received a broken arm in the incident and has been working hard over the last four weeks to help his injuries heal in time for round two of the Chinese series in Liupanshui.

After round one in Shanghai earlier this year, the pair currently holds the lead of the Chinese National Championship, for which only Chinese nationals are eligible for points.
 
The Shanghai event provided fierce competition with nine top international teams amongst the many entered for outright honours and the top three placings changed constantly during the rally. In the end it was Alister McRae who took the win after a broken intercooler pipe slowed Xu Lang and Dale on the penultimate stage and dropped them to second.

“It seems so long ago since we first hit the stages in the series in Shanghai back in March and obviously with Xu Lang’s unfortunate accident we have been out of the car longer than planned,” explained Dale. “But we are both very focused on the task in front of us. Xu Lang is a very fit and keen competitor and is doing everything he can to overcome his injuries.”

Since Xu Lang’s accident the 29 year old has healed well and is already back driving his road car. With Dale heading to China now to begin pace noting and testing, the team still have two weeks before the Liupanshui event and Dale is confident they will be back in full swing in time.

“Xu Lang and I are both focused on one goal at the moment and that is getting more points for both his championship defence and also for our Honghe Rally Team in Liupanshui. We still have more work to do before we get there but personally I can’t wait to get back into it!”

Just getting to the rally will be half the challenge for Dale, who once flies from Sydney to Bangkok and on to Kunming, and then head into the hills surrounding the team’s home city. Here there will be an evaluation of Xu Lang’s fitness and strength in the car, as well as further refining of the team’s relatively new English pace noting system.

Come rally week it will be a seven hour train trip into the Chinese mountains to Liupanshui, which is located in Southern China at an altitude of around 2500 metres. This will no doubt be quite an interesting journey in itself.

“We will take the same approach to this rally as we did in Shanghai and that is to attack the stages at our own pace and try to get a break on our Chinese rivals,” explained Dale. “Then hopefully if all things go well that should see us right near the front in the outright stakes as well.”

“But we are certainly not under any false illusions as to the speed and depth of the field that will be assembled. There are now two flying Finn’s entered - our team mate Jarkko Miettinen, along with the inclusion of multiple Finnish Group N champion Juha Salo. Round one victor Alister McRae and a host of other top flight International Group N stars will also be there.”

Photo: by Joel Strickland
 

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