When Australia’s round of the Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) kicks off on Friday 13 May with two blasts around the spectator friendly Caloundra super special stage, the Pertamina Cusco Racing Team will make its first appearance in Australia – a new team, but with familiar faces in the cockpit.  

Rifat Sungkar and Scott Beckwith (pictured) - who competed in the 2010 event in all red for Pertamina – now lead the Pertamina Cusco Racing team with its striking black livery complimented with grey and Pertamina red.  

A partnership between Indonesia’s pre-eminent supplier of fuel and oils, Pertamina, along with the Japanese based specialty car parts manufacturer Cusco, and joined by tyre supplier Yokohama, the relationship brings together a vast amount of experience and capability.

Lead driver Sungkar is very enthusiastic about the team and its prospects.  

“It is the perfect combination” he says.  “The acknowledged capability and experience of the Cusco side of the team to build a strong, capable and reliable car with the expertise of Pertamina for the right oils, and complemented by a tyre manufacturer who knows rallying needs intimately and has rubber for all occasions.  What more could you want – it’s a winning formula.”

The capability and potential of the team was emphasised at the recent Rally of Malaysia.  Fuel issues on day 1 saw the team out of the overall event, but they re-started on Day 2 and scored an emphatic victory on the day, winning four of the days seven stages.  

“I think we surprised a lot of people with our speed on day 2,” noted co-driver Beckwith.  

“But it was really just a culmination of the comfort and confidence Rifat developed in the new car – which we had not driven until testing in Malaysia.  Rifat had an immediate liking for the new Mitsubishi Evo X from the first run at testing, and was consistently quick all week.  So whilst Saturday was disappointing for us, we were delighted by the result on Sunday, which re-affirmed the value of the combined elements of this team.”

Team manager Sugimura is confident that the teams work in Malaysia will translate into results in Queensland.  

“We worked hard in Malaysia to ensure the car worked for Rifat and Scott – and they rewarded us in the best possible way on Sunday.  And they brought the car back without a scratch on it – we are not always used to that!” Sugimura laughed.  “

Seriously – with this team, we are very confident going into Queensland, and while there is tough competition out there – the other regular APRC teams and the local guys will all be fast – we believe we have the package to be on the podium on Sunday.  We cant wait!”

It should be worth watching!  With 230km of gravel stages around the Imbil area, and Rifat the acknowledged ‘crowd pleaser’ from 2011, it will be a great weekend to get out into the forest and support the Boys in Black!

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.  

Get full, exclusive access for only $6.55/month.
  • Full access
  • Exclusive news
  • Store & Tour discounts

Show Your Support


Recent Posts