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This coming weekend Friday 4th to Sunday 6th November sees the Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) return to the challenging narrow mountain stages and super fast concrete stages of Longyou in China for the final round of 2011.  

With the Pertamina Cusco team of Rifat Sungkar and Scott Beckwith lying an unassailable third in the championship, and with unfinished business on their minds, the pair are out for a top of the podium result.  The pair have been consistently competitive this year, delivering some of their strongest results as a team – particularly on events they know well like new Caledonia and Malaysia.

‘For sure previous experience is a big advantage’ said driver Sungkar.  ‘Where you really have a feel for the roads and the grip, and a good set of pace notes that comes from having run roads before, you can really have confidence and push hard.  This will be our third visit to Longyou, so all those factors are in our favour’

Having previously finished second outright on the event, the team are ready for the next step.  ‘We are really looking forward to this event’ commented Sungkar.  ‘We know it well, and the narrow mountain stages suit us and the car, so we are very keen to take it up to the Protons there.   After the disappointment of mechanical failure last year, which robbed us of the opportunity to fight for the title, we are out to show what we can do here!’

The key challenge for the duo will be the concrete sections – which make up over 50% of the event this year.  ‘The concrete sections really add a whole new dimension to the event’ noted Beckwith.  ‘They are very fast, but if you put a wheel off the wrong way, the edges catch the rim, and you  have little control over what happens next – as some of our competitors found out last year.  In addition, many of the roads are through villages, where a mistake on a corner will see you having a losing argument with a house!’

Team Manager Sugimura is confident the Pertamina Cusco team will have a strong showing in China.  ‘Thanks to the combination of Cusco, Pertamina Prima XP and Yokohama, the car has the speed, strength and reliability we need for this event, while Rifat and Scott have the experience and capability.  We are delighted to have secured 3rd in the Championship in our first full year back, and are keen to close the year with a strong result for the car and the team.  So we are here with a focus on the podium on Sunday.’

The action starts on Friday afternoon with the traditional spectator friendly super special stage close to Longyou, and then moves to the mountain stages and on Saturday morning.  You can follow the progress of Rifat/scott and the Pertamina Cusco Team on www.fiaaprc.com

Along with Pertamina, Cusco and Yokohama, Rifat and Scott are very grateful for the continued support of their Indonesian sponsors – Tag Heuer, Bullocks Tools, DC Clothing and Otoblitz.  
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