New Zealanders Mike Young and co-driver Malcolm finished their FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) season with an excellent second place at a very tough and torturous India Rally while also enjoying multiple APRC championship class success.
Based in the coffee plantations near Chikkamagaluru, 240 kilometres west of Bangalore, the event had a massive following of fans who had come to watch newly crowned APRC champion Gaurav Gill win on home soil. As one of the few international drivers Young was popular with the locals, and was therefore kept busy prior to the event with pre-event presentations and press conferences.
With the formalities finished and the event underway reality struck early with a down on power engine caused by the local fuel, while the tight and twisty roads soon started to cause over-heating brakes.
“The brakes get real hot and there is very little time between stages to allow them to cool down, so it was a real issue on the first morning. On the third stage and the first corner, my foot went straight to the floor. Luckily it was only 50 metres from the start and we managed to get around on the handbrake,” said Young.
With the initial problems Young was down in fourth place, but was then was first on the scene to Germany driver Fabian Kreim’s accident that blocked the road, causing the stage to be cancelled. Once the rally continued and even though Young was struggling with a down on power engine and over-heating brakes, he was in the right spot to take over second place in the Cusco EZY Racing Subaru.
Young looked to have the position in the bag until a heavy landing over a jump was the possible cause of power steering failure on the final morning. Fortunately the Cusco EZY Racing team were able to continue, thanks to Young’s quick thinking and experienced co-driver.
Co-driver Malcolm Read made road-side repairs to the Subaru, and despite needing medical treatment for a burnt hand due to the repairs, his efforts were enough to keep the pair in the event which was the ultimate goal.
“Given all the challenges we had with the brakes, the engine and with the power steering I’m really happy just to finish, let alone finish second. It’s very very tough here as the roads are so tight and twisty – its tough on the car and the team,” said a relieved Young at the finish.
“Also have to say a huge thanks to Malcolm [Read] for keeping the car going. It’s not the first time he’s been able to fix the car and keep us in the event. Plus of course my Cusco team who have kept the car running all year and made this all possible. I wouldn’t be here without them.”
With the six rounds of the APRC now complete, Young and Read have managed to secure the following positions, adding six more trophies to their already impressive collection:
· 1st Production Cup [drivers + co-drivers]
· 1st Junior Cup [drivers + co-drivers]
· 2nd Teams Trophy [Cusco Racing]
· 3rd Asia Pacific Rally Championship overall [drivers + co-drivers]
· 3rd Asia Cup [drivers + co-drivers]
· 3rd Asia-Pacific Rally Cup Powered By Würth
Young now takes a break over the Christmas period and aims to compete again in 2017, with his plans announced in the new year.