The Motor Image Rally Team (MIRT) led by Cody Crocker and co-driver won the final leg of the Asia Pacific Rally Championship in China on Wednesday the 13th. Crocker managed to narrow the gap to clinch the China Rally title over his closest rival, Hiroshi Yanagisawa from Japan. He clocked a winning time of 3 hours, 23 minutes and 54.7 seconds – a mere 1.2 seconds faster than Yanagisawa.
Crocker’s victory at the finish line today was made sweeter with the Motor Image Rally Team securing the Manufacturer’s Title for the second year in a row. A whopping 10 points separated Subaru and Mitsubishi after the Malaysian Rally in October but Crocker’s triumphant finish today in China further boosted Subaru’s points tally. Despite perilous road conditions and gearbox trouble on Day 1 of the China Rally, Crocker strived on and made the team proud. With his China Rally win, Crocker has also won the Asia Cup title.
Said Crocker of his triumph, “We’re feeling top of the world right now! We’ve already won the Championship title so this weekend Ben and I concentrated on finishing well to secure the Manufacturer’s Title and I’m ecstatic that we achieved that. I can’t ask for a better end to a tough season! The MIRT crew has been instrumental in our success this season and I’m extremely appreciative of their efforts. We’ll be back next season and I look forward to doing everyone proud again.”
Brimming with much pride over his team’s fantastic end to the APRC 2008 season, Mr. Glenn Tan, Team Principal of Motor Image Rally Team, said, “For a Singapore team to win the Championship twice in a row is a fantastic achievement for us. When we first started last year, we were considered the underdogs and no one ever imagined that a Singapore-assembled car could make it this far. Watch out for the team next year, as we have bigger plans in store. Congratulations to the best rally team out there. They have overcome insurmountable obstacles to reach this point after two seasons.”
Crocker and his co-driver, Ben Atkinson, had already won the APRC 2008 driver and co-driver
titles respectively even before the China leg of the APRC and only needed to cross the start-line in order to be crowned champions. This is the second APRC title that the Australian rally driver had won driving a Singapore-assembled Subaru Impreza WRX STI Group N rally car.
The China Rally is the seventh final round of the seven-leg FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship and concludes the 2008 season of APRC, which Crocker has already successfully won at the previous rally in Malaysia in October. The APRC 2008 championship title is the 2nd consecutive APRC title that Crocker has won with MIRT. Held at Longyou, one of the counties of Quzhou City in Zhejiang Province, the China Rally comprises a total of 16 stages that run through thick bamboo forests and mountainous regions. Longyou is approximately 400km away from Shanghai and is an important traffic centre that connects nearby areas such as Hangzhou and Ningbo.
This year’s China Rally has two new stages, including a newly built super special stage. Beginning with Chang Shang Qiao, a 7.22km-long route, China Rally consists of 15 stages, spanning a total of 222 kilometres. Established in 2007 by the Motor Image Group (MIG), MIRT is fronted by two rally drivers, defending champion Crocker from Australia and Rifat Sungkar from Indonesia. Both drivers made their APRC 2008 season debut in the Rally of Canberra. Apart from the drivers, the MIRT consists of mechanics and engineers from Singapore, Malaysia, Australia and New Zealand. Motor Image Rally Team will continue its APRC journey next year with a line-up.