Jul 18, 2012


15 JULY 2012, JOHOR BAHRU- The conditions were tough and made worse by the overnight rain but Alister McRae kept his feet firmly planted on the ground to win the Malaysian leg of the Asia Pacific Rally Champion (APRC) under such difficult circumstances yesterday.

As the wet weather continues to hover over the Tai Tak Estate route yesterday, the participants knew very well that the challenges ahead were going to be enormous but McRae and co-driver Bill Hayes in their Proton Satria Neo 2000 sailed through the muddy terrain to win the race in a total time of 2hrs 57mins 31.5secs.

Lying third after Saturday's opening round, McRae went into Round 2 yesterday knowing very well that he has to keep an eye on the road and make sure his vehicle  stay on course, which he did in style.

"It was such a challenging race. But we came through in the end and I am happy for the team and my co-driver. That's the nature of rallying. You win some and you could lose some too," said McRae. Chris Atkinson in a Skoda Fabia 2000 came in second with a total time of 3hrs 21mins 06.6secs with Brian Green in a Subaru Impreza third in 3hrs 24mins 08.1secs.

"Alister and I had such an interesting tussle but in the end he won and my congratulations to him. It was such a demanding race but in the end he was better," said Atkinson.

The race also saw the overnight leader Per-Gunnar Anderson of Sweden in a Proton  Satria Neo suffering an setback  when his electronic system failed to function which left him out of contention.

In a double swoop McRae also won the Malaysian Rally Championship round with the Cusco Racing team of Yuya Sumiyama and co-driver Naoki Kase in their Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X coming in second in a time of 3hrs 13min 32.2secs while third was Chris Atkinson and Stephane Prevot in their Skoda Fabia 2000.

Karamjit Singh, the defending Malaysian Rally Championship winner, was fifth in 3hrs 24mins 56.6secs in his Proton Satria Neo 2000.

"It is still a wide open race for the Malaysian Rally Championship. With two more rounds to go, Malacca and Negeri Sembilan, there are still enough points to fight for," he said.

Jul 14, 2012


14 July 2012, JOHOR BAHRU - The conditions were not ideal but Per-Gunnar Anderson in a Satria Neo 2000 came through the mud and the slush to clinch the opening round of the Malaysian leg of the Asia Pacific Rally Championship yesterday.

The constant drizzle over the Tai Tak Estate yesterday made conditions tough, so tough that the organizer had to cancel one stage of the race simply because of it's poor condition but then again Anderson and co-driver Emil Axelson were in their element to complete the estimated 115 km race in the fastest time of 1hr 48mins 49.9secs.

Second fastest was India Guarav Gill also in a Skoda Fabia with his co-driver Glen MacNeall of New Zealand in 1hr 50min 12.6secs while Proton Motorsports Alister MacRae and partner Bill Hayes came in third in 1hr 51.04.4secs.

The weatherman had predicted rain over the area over the past couple of days and true to their prediction, the rain came throughout the entire morning, making conditions a challenging one instead.

As Karamjit Singh, Malaysia's No 1 rally driver who came in fourth yesterday said: 'It was tough out there today. The roads were so slippery and a slight mistake could see you pay a heavy price. But then again the conditions are same for everybody,"

Karamjit, driving a Proton Satria Neo with Vivek Ponussamy was timed at 2hrs 08.02.2secs with New Zealand's Brian Green in a Subaru Impreza was fifth in 2hrs 09.50.9secs.

"More rain are expected tomorrow and I believe conditions will not get any better. So it's all a matter of staying in control tomorrow," said Karamjit.


13 JULY 2012, JOHOR BAHRU- As the big guns of the Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) gather in Johor Bahru for the Malaysian leg of the championship, the gravel roads of the Tai Tak Estate, is expected to test the resolve and skills plus the patience of the competitors, to their very limit.

And they know things could change overnight on a venue where little mistakes could be punished severely but huge rewards could be reaped if things go your way.

And that's where the likes of Australia's Chris Atkinson, the championship leader, is hoping to thrive on.

Driving a Skoda S2000, Atkinson is the leader after three rounds of the championship in New Zealand, New Caledonia and Australia with a total of 101 points and he knows too well of the task confronting him this weekend.

After all he was part of the Malaysian Proton Motorsports Team two years ago which swept the field to win the title at the very same venue.

"It has always been a very challenging venue. More so when it rains. But whatever the conditions, I am hoping for a podium finish," said Atkinson who will have Belgian Stephane Prevot as his co-driver.

Atkinson leads the championship on a total of 101 points with India's Guarav Gill second on 63 pts and New Zealand's Brian Green, third on 52 pts.

Then come the Proton Motorsports driver Alister McRae in his Proton Satria Neo 2000 who is lying joint fourth together with Sweden's Per-Gunnar Anderson on 48 pts each.

But expect a stiff challenge from Green's Subaru Impreza and McRae too.

Especially McRae who has the experience of driving under such trying conditions of the gravel track of the Tai Tak Estate in Kota Tinggi where a slight mistake could inflict heavy punishment.

As Malaysia's leading rally driver Karamjit Singh said: The Tai Tak Estate can be a very unforgiving venue. More so if it rains. But if it stays dry than it can be very rewarding especially those with a powerful car.

Karamjit with co-driver Vivek Ponusamy have been entered for the race with a Proton Satria Neo under the Proton R3 Cusco team instead of his usual turbo-charged Mitsubishi Lancer Evo XI which he normally drives in the Malaysian Rally Championship.
"But whatever the make of the car I am determined to have a go at the championship," said Karamjit.

A total of 16 cars have been entered for the APRC championship and 21 cars for the Johor Bahru round of the Malaysian Rally Championship; which will run simultaneously.

All eyes will be on China's Fan Fan who will be behind the wheels of his Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X where he will be defending his Malaysian Rally title he won at the very same venue last year.

Driving under the GSR Air Asia Rally Team, Fan Fan was supposed to have raced at the Kangar leg of the Malaysian Rally last month but because of his car's late Customs clearance, he was denied the opportunity.

"But everything is solved now. I am looking forward to the Johor Bahru leg of the Malaysian Rally," said Fan Fan. And for the first time in the championship, the organisers have decided to hold a 2.5 km Special Stage race at the Plaza Angsana under the floodlights.

Jul 8, 2012


8 July 2012, JOHOR - Michael Young, the 19-year-old rally driver from Opotiki, New Zealand, heads to the 2012 Malaysian Rally next weekend focussed on consolidating his championship prospects.

Young currently has a commanding lead in the Junior Cup category of the 2012 FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship with the Malaysian event counting as the third round of the series. The only Kiwi in the four-strong junior class, Young has twice the number of points of his nearest rival, Japanese driver Akira Bamba, after contesting APRC events in Whangarei and Queensland.

“We are leading the championship after two rounds with a good lead on the other junior competitors,” says Young before he left New Zealand on 8 July. “The hard work has been done; we must now think about the championship and focus on finishing this tough event. But of course I want to win again!”

Young and his co-driver Tasmanian Daniel Willson are in the interesting situation of having rallied more frequently in Malaysia than they have in any other country.

“We have good experience of Malaysian roads - this is my fourth event in Malaysia although I haven’t rallied in this part of the country before. If we are in a position to win, we won't hold back!”

Young and Willson meet up with their team, Japan-based Cusco Racing, in the Malaysia’s southern-most city, Johor Bahru, on Monday before the event runs over the weekend of 13 to 15 July.

“We will test with the team on Tuesday and have a lot of preparation to do with the Proton Satria – we need to replace the clutch and the drive-shafts after the Queensland event which was rough on the gear. Also Malaysian rallies are very low speed so we will be using lots of clutch and changing from second to first a lot.”

Young and Willson have the opportunity to complete a two-pass reconnaissance of the rally route on Wednesday and Thursday before Friday evening’s official start ceremony. All competitors then start the event at 9:30 pm around the 2.5 km super special stage around the Angsana shopping complex which also houses the service park for all rally crews. With an 11 am start on Saturday, they tackle 155.4 km of special stages to the north of the city before Sunday’s 79.88 km of competitive stages and the finish ceremony in the afternoon.

Young is passionate about competing in the Asian events, despite the challenges of the tropical climate and tree-lined plantation roads typical to the Malaysian event.

“I love the whole experience of Malaysia; the food and the people are awesome. The rally will be very tricky coming from a New Zealand winter to the heat of at least 30 degrees. And remember that temperature is almost double inside the car.

“The roads are often rocky, rough and extremely slippery if wet! Through the plantations, they’re lined with palm oil trees and deep ditches, so we have to be super aware of those challenges which can end our rally very easily.”

Competing under the Mike Young Motorsport banner, Young drives a two-wheel-drive Proton Satria 1.6-litre rally car built and prepared by Cusco Racing and is fortunate to have the support of Yokohama Tyres which provides as many tyres as Young needs throughout the event.
 After Malaysia, Young heads to Japan in September for the final round of the 2012 APRC Junior Cup. The APRC Junior Cup was first introduced in 2011 with the intention of increasing opportunities for young talented drivers from within the region. It's open to drivers aged 28 years or younger as at 1 January 2012 driving currently homologated two-wheel-drive cars with a maximum engine capacity of 1600cc, and competitors must enter at least two rounds to qualify for points.

Results from the Malaysian Rally can be found on the website www.malaysianrally.com. Young has also established a new website www.mikeyoung.co.nz which will feature news, image and video content, or find 'mikeyoungmotorsport' on Facebook.