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Subaru rally driver Cody Crocker has made the perfect start to his Asia-Pacific Rally Championship title defence by taking the maximum points on offer at Rally Queensland.

Crocker and co-driver Ben Atkinson survived an early scare on the first stage this morning when a puncture cost them over a minute and brought them back to the field. But they pushed on strongly across the final six stages in their MotorImage Subaru Impreza WRX STI to score three points for winning leg two and a further ten for taking the round. They also took three points yesterday as the fastest in Leg One.

Simon Evans won the outright Rally of Queensland title, one minute 29.9 seconds clear of Crocker, but he is not registered for the six-round APRC series and is ineligible for points. Third outright, and second to Crocker in the APRC, was Japanese driver, Katsu Taguchi, in the Mitsubihsi Lancer Evo 9.

Taguchi  leaves Australia with 12 points for his toils, leaving him second overall, just four behind the reigning champion.

Crocker’s MotorImage team-mate, New Zealander Emma Gilmore, as was fourth outright, third APRC, leaping ahead of Indian driver, Indian driver Gaurav Gill, on the final day of competition.

Crocker was delighted that he had made a successful start in his quest for a fourth straight APRC title.

“We came here in a brand new car and there is always some risk involved in that,” Crocker said.

“The only true test for a car is in the heat of competition and the fact that it performed so well, so early in its development, is fantastic, and a real credit to the team.

“I had to be really disciplined today, just to focus on our job of collecting maximum points, and not get involved with ideas of chasing Simon.”

“I know that getting points in the bag early is vital in winning championships. Despite losing time with that puncture, we were able to make it up and still be quicker than Taguchi across the day, so to get the three bonus points on offer today was really good.

“The puncture came when I hit a rock right on my line, but luckily it was only a short stage and we got away with it.

"Emma coming through and getting third was also fantastic. It has been a big effort by MotorImage to get two cars here, and for both to finish on the podium is a proper reward for them as well.

“Now it is off to New Zealand. That event is always been good to us as well.”

Results - APRC Rally Queensland

1 Evans/Evans, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9
2 Crocker/Atkinson*, Subaru Impreza WRX STI, +1 min 29.7 secs
3 Taguchi/Stacey*, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9, +2 min 51.4 secs
4 Gilmore/Smyth*, Subaru Impreza WRX STI, +7 min 50.1 secs
5 Gill/Macneall*, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 10, +9 mins 04.6 secs

* = APRC registered competitors

APRC Points table after Rally Queensland

1 Crocker, Subaru, 16
2 Taguchi, Mitsubishi, 12
3 Gilmore, Subaru, 7
4 Gill, Mitsubishi, 6
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