International rallying returns to the Northern New Zealand city of Whangarei on the weekend of 16 -17 July, and the Pertamina Cusco pairing of Rifat Sungkar and Scot Beckwith will be exchanging the warmth of tropical Jakarta for the cool winter climate of NZ as they continue their 2011 Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) campaign.  

Buoyed by their impressive showing in the most recent round in New Caledonia, where the pair led the event in the early stages before finishing a strong second to Protons Chris Atkinson, and with increasing confidence in the car, the pair come to New Zealand looking for results.  

“New Caledonia was a fantastic result for us” said Sungkar.  “Having struggled with brakes and confidence in the car in Malaysia and Queensland, we solved the problem for New Caledonia, and as a result, we were extremely competitive!  We were able to compete on an equal footing with the other teams, and did so without pushing too hard, or damaging the car.  

"We know that everyone will step up a gear in New Zealand, and the local guys will be very fast, but these are great driving roads, and I am confident we now have the package and the speed to take the fight right up to them.  We will certainly find out!”

There is a lot at stake for the team in New Zealand.  The strong result in New Caledonia, along with points from Queensland and Malaysia leave the team in 4th position in the Championship, and leading the Pacific Cup, which will be decided at the Whangarei event.  

“This is a great position for us” noted co-driver Beckwith.  “We felt we had a strong chance in the Pacific Cup this year.  Our results to date have put us in the lead currently, and well placed to win the title – but it wont be easy, and we will have to fight very hard.  We need a very good result here.  Of course if we achieve that, it will also move us up in the overall APRC standings, and place us well for the last two events of the season to really shoot for the title.  So, there is a lot at stake in Whangarei, and we will be ready to fight!”

Pertamina Cusco Racing Team Manager Sugimura is also delighted with the teams progress to date, and the prospects for this event.  “In our first full year back in the APRC for some time, we have found a very strong combination, and it is delivering results.  

"With Pertamina we have a supplier of quality oils and lubricants joining Cusco who make strong, industry leading performance car parts, and supported by Yokohama to supply excellent rally developed tyres.  It is a great basis for a rally team, and with Rifat and Scott we have a very strong and reliable combination to optimise the results for the team.  New Caledonia proved the potential we showed on Sunday in Malaysia, and we are looking forward to another great result in New Zealand”

The event kicks off on Saturday morning 4 July, and will comprise over 300km of challenging gravel roads in two full days of competition.  


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