International Rally Of Whangarei | Fabien Kreim Leads After Eventful Leg One

Leg one of first round of APRC was a eventful one. MRF Skoda driver Gaurav Gill was in command till he hit problems. Tyre wear and puncture on days last stage costed him the lead. First gravel outing for Fabiem Kreim turned out to be a smooth ride as he leads Gill by just 4.6 seconds. Kiwi driver Michael Young, climbed to third overall after yesterdays problems. He set some impressive times all day and was determined to make up the lost time.

Gaurav Gill was in good rhythm, although he was still getting used to the new car. He won five stages in a row and extended his lead over a minute. Conditions were slippery, and there was excessive tyre wear problem. On the last three stages Gill lost time and worst was the puncture where he lost 40 seconds and also the lead. Gill said, "Unfortunately we had a puncture in the last stage, about four kilometres from the finish. We lost about 40 seconds to our team-mate, so we’re down about five seconds tonight, but that means we’re going to start second on the road tomorrow which I’m happy about." "Obviously I would have wanted my 50 second lead but I’ll live to fight another day. We’ll also be doing some setup changes with the car tonight so tomorrow should be good."

For Fabien Kreim it was his first gravel rally. He was keen on just finishing the rally. All day long he was behind Gill. But later in the day he won two stages and closed the gap to Gill. He was really happy with his performance and leading was a bonus to him. Kreim said, " Unbelievable! I did not expect that [to be leading] because we also have some problems but have not lost so much time." "Tomorrow it will be same like today. We’ll just be driving and I think tomorrow Gaurav [Gill] will be very fast. We talk together before every stage and they [Gill and Macneall] give me some very important tips and I hope I can use this."

Michael Young finished third behind MRF Skoda drivers. He had a good day with some good stage times and he won the last stage of the day. Young said,"It’s been a really good day for us. With our 14 minute handicap I just said to Malcolm ‘lets see how much we can pull back’ so to get back into third in one day is pretty awesome." "Tomorrow we will keep up our pace as that has seemed to work well for us today and it keeps me focused. And we’re obviously stoked to win a couple of the New Zealand Rally Championship stages which was another pleasant surprise."

Scott Pedder who was fourth overall in his Renault Clio retired due to mechanical issues. Indian driver Sanjay Takale also retired after having electrical problems. All drivers today faced problems and it was the MRF duo who had a trouble free run. Tomorrow crew have to tackle six more stages totaling 120 kilometers.

                                                               Overall Classification 
12Kreim/ChristianSkoda Fabia R51:45:09.6
21Gill/MacneallSkoda Fabia R5+4.6
33Young/ReadSubaru Impreza WRX STi+13:41.8
47Kawahara/YodaMitsubishi Lancer EVO VIII+16:08.4
58Koizumi/TakahashiSubaru Impreza WRX STi+35:36.9
66Takahashi/IkedaSubaru Impreza WRX STi+2:14:13.9
74Takale/TakeshitaSubaru Impreza WRX STi+7:00:38.0

It was a action packed day, as the rally reaches its final day. Close battle is expected tomorrow between Gill and Kreim. Who will be on top, tomorrow we will get the answer. Stay tuned for further updates, Until then Happy Rallying!
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APRC, International Rally Of Whangarei - Gaurav Gill Tops Shakedown, Fabien Kreim Takes Overnight Lead

First round of Asia Pacific Rally Championship kicked off in Whangarei, New Zealand. With the shakedown stage running this morning Gaurav Gill went quickest, first time driving a R5 Fabia. Shakedown stage was a short blast through 1.45 kilometer Hella Pohe Island. Gill on his fourth run through the stage set a time of 48.8 seconds. His MRF Skoda team mate Fabien Kreim set the second best time of 50.7 seconds. Michael Young in his Subaru Impreza was third fastest.

Following the shakedown, ceremonial start was held in the evening. After that crews had to tackle two runs of Pohe Island Super Special Stage under lights. APRC debutant Fabien Kreim won the very first competitive stage, followed by Gaurav Gill to win the second run. Both MRF Skoda drivers showed signs of good pace and the rally is poised to some great action. The duo is seperated by only 1.2 seconds. Aussie driver Scott Pedder is third overall in his Renault Clio. 

But it was a disastrous start for New Zealand driver Michael Young. He was hit with electrical problem in his Cusco EZY Racing Subaru Impreza. At the start line of first stage he lost all power. Crew have temporarily withdrawn from rally, but they will be back tomorrow to gain some crucial championship points. Michael Young said, "This is obviously a disappointing start to the rally for us. We’re still not entirely sure what happened but as soon as we turned the spotlights on, the car just died. The boys are working on it now though and we’re sure it’ll be ready to go again tomorrow." We also have to remember they’re [Gill and Kreim] in a much faster R5 while we’re still in a Group N car so I think there’s no point being silly and trying to chase them. We just need to score some points now.”

This event also marks the debut of the Skoda Fabia R5  in APRC run by MRF. Gaurav Gill said, "The Team MRF Skoda is completely different to what I’ve been used to and what I’ve been driving over the years... It has a lot more power, a lot more torque and the chassis is incredibly responsive." "We’ve only done some tests two days ago, of only about 50 kilometres, so its going to take some time to understand how the car is and how it responds. I will give it at least three to four stages to see how it goes and then enjoy the stages after that."

Real rally begins tomorrow, with crews tackling eight special stages on the north of Whangarei . The beautiful scenic New Zealand roads will be a perfect backdrop for the event. 
Latest Classification
12Kreim/ChristianSkoda Fabia R51:45.4
21Gill/MacneallSkoda Fabia R5+1.2
35Pedder/MoscattRenault Clio+6.0
44Takale/TakeshitaSubaru Impreza WRX STi+11.8
56Takahashi/IkedaSubaru Impreza WRX STi+16.3
67Kawahara/YodaMitsubishi Lancer EVO VIII+19.5
78Koizumi/TakahashiSubaru Impreza WRX STi+23.4
83Young/ReadSubaru Impreza WRX STi+1

It will be a action packed day tomorrow. With the drivers battling it out for glory. Stay tuned for further updates on rally. Until Then Happy Rallying!

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Toyota Begins Yaris WRC Testing

Toyota has finally began testing its new WRC weapon. Today, Toyota WRC team boss Tommi Makinen confirmed to Finnish media channel Ilta Sanomat that, they have already started testing Yaris WRC. Four time world champion said that it has been week and a half since they launched the testing. He also said that, he has driven the car for around 1000 kilometers. All the testing mileage has been done in Central Finland.

According to Makinen, the first test have been run without any major issue. He also admitted that as of now it has been kept out of reach of media. 

Toyota test driver, Finn Juho Hanninen has also gained access to the new machinery and done two days of testing. Because of unstable weather conditions, testing has been effected. But so far its been a smooth ride said Makinen. He also stressed that Toyota will definitely make its WRC return at the beginning of next year.

Its good news for rally fans that another new WRC machine is in the making. We will update as the news flows in. Stay tuned to us by subscribing to our news at the bottom of the page. Until then Happy Rallying! 
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Thrilling Victory For Hayden Paddon WRC, Rally Argentina

Hayden Paddon writes history as he becomes first New Zealand driver to win a WRC rally. On a thrilling battle with Sebastien Ogier, Paddon emerged on top after winning the power stage. It was a tough start for Paddon on third leg and there was only 2.6 seconds between Ogier and Paddon. But Paddon stormed through power stage and took a emphatic victory. Its also maiden win for new generation Hyundai i20 WRC.

Leg three of Rally Argentina began with famous El Condor stage. Conditions were not favorable as thick fog covered the top of mountains and visibility was poor. All drivers struggled with visibility issues. Paddon had 29.8 seconds of cushion over Ogier. But after El Condor stage it was trimmed to 22.4 seconds. SS 17, Mina Clavero, thats where Ogier showed some serious pace to close down the gap to leader to just 2.6 seconds. Now it was all set for final showdown in El Condor which was the power stage. It was Hayden Paddon who drove a picture perfect stage and was 11.2 seconds quicker than Ogier. Taking the victory by 14.3 seconds, first Kiwi to do so. It was an emotional moment for Hayden Paddon and John Kennard.

Andreas Mikkelsen finished third, he built a steady pace throughout the rally and was over a minute away from the leader. Dani Sordo who won the opening stage ended up fourth overall, just 11.9 seconds behind Mikkelsen. M-Sport driver Mads Ostberg and Thierry Neuville finished fifth and sixth respectively. Local star Marcos Ligato piloting a Citroen DS3 WRC finished in impressive seventh place. Eric Camilli was relieved to cross the finish line in one piece and was eight overall. Henning Solberg and WRC2 runner Nicolas Fuchs rounded off the top ten finishers. Jari Matti Latvala restarted after a freak suspension failure on leg two. Volkswagen mechanics did a impressive job to fix the car but it was not in a good shape. JML Hit problems in power stage and finally managed to finish the rally.

WRC 2 glory went to Nicolas Fuchs in his Skoda Fabia R5. Polish driver Hubert Ptaszek finished second and Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari rounded off the podium. WRC 3 saw only one entry and hence maximum points went to Michel Fabre driving a Citroen DS3 R3T.
                                   Overall Classification
1.20NZLH. PADDON3:40:52.9
2.1FRAS. OGIER3:41:07.2+14.3+14.3
3.9NORA. MIKKELSEN3:41:58.1+50.9+1:05.2
4.4ESPD. SORDO3:42:10.0+11.9+1:17.1
5.5NORM. OSTBERG3:45:49.6+3:39.6+4:56.7
6.3BELT. NEUVILLE3:50:22.4+4:32.8+9:29.5
7.81ARGM. LIGATO3:50:32.1+9.7+9:39.2
8.6FRAE. CAMILLI3:51:08.9+36.8+10:16.0
9.16NORH. SOLBERG3:51:41.4+32.5+10:48.5
10.42PERN. FUCHS4:05:35.7+13:54.3+24:42.8

Rally Argentina was a thrilling one. It all went down to the wire. And the Kiwi kept his cool. For more action stay updated by subscribing to our news at botton of this page. Until then Happy Rallying!

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Latvala crashes out, Paddon the Rally Leader, WRC, Rally Argentina

Rally Argentina bites Jari-Matti Latvala! Hard luck Flying Finn! In what it seemed like a freak suspension failure, over that normal bedrock ridden stretch of the gravelly track of SS14, JML's rally car, VW Polo R WRC, looses control and rolls a few times before coming to an halt back on its wheels.

It was rather relieving to see when both crew walk out safe from the wreckage, and his frustration was clear on the crash, shot from the helicopter video footage (see below).

Immediate beneficiaries of the wreckage were the next three, Hayden Paddon, Sebastien Ogier, Andreas Mikkelsen, who stepped up on to the top 3 slots and held it through the end of the penultimate day of the rally.

Marcos Ligato, the local Argentinian also benefits and moves up the leaderboard to 6th overall by the end of SS15. The bigger question is whether Paddon be able to hold up to the attack of the Frenchman, who is trailing almost half a minute to him.

Overall Top 10, at the end of Day 2, SS 15

Pos # Driver Time Diff Prev Diff 1st
1. 20 NZL H. PADDON 2:54:45.6

2. 1 FRA S. OGIER 2:55:15.4 +29.8 +29.8
3. 9 NOR A. MIKKELSEN 2:55:29.9 +14.5 +44.3
4. 4 ESP D. SORDO 2:55:47.6 +17.7 +1:02.0
5. 5 NOR M. OSTBERG 2:58:31.8 +2:44.2 +3:46.2
6. 81 ARG M. LIGATO 3:02:58.7 +4:26.9 +8:13.1
7. 16 NOR H. SOLBERG 3:03:03.5 +4.8 +8:17.9
8. 3 BEL T. NEUVILLE 3:03:03.5 +0.0 +8:17.9
9. 6 FRA E. CAMILLI 3:03:45.9 +42.4 +9:00.3
10. 2 FIN J. LATVALA 3:08:25.4 +4:39.5 +13:39.8

Nicholas Fuchs rules the roost at WRC2 category, while the Qatari
barely made it to the service park after a hard day over the sandy gravel stretches of Rally Argentina.

Today, the last day of Rally Argentina has just 3 special stages, the first stage the famous El' Condor, will be repeated as the last one to be the power stage, where some bonus points will be up for grabs for the top 3 drivers/co-drivers that adds up for their championship points

While JML Crashed out, mechanics at Volkswagen Motorsport are busy repairing it, in the allotted 3 hours to revive the car back for the last day. Latvala is still in point scoring placing and are hopeful that he can make it a tad bit better than slipping out of the 10th position last night standings.

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JML, Ogier, Paddon on top 3 after day 2, WRC Rally Argentina

Opening of the second and full day of Rally Argentina kept the fast five on the top. Sebastien Ogier lead the rally from day 1 until SS4, where Jari-Matti Latvala took over the lead.

Kiwi Hayden Paddon in his good form this time, raised himself to second overall for the first half of the day, and later in the second half on a roulette play with Ogier for the second position, who held the second position by the end of day 2.

Also we need to understand that the championship leader, Ogier, has the formidable task of clearing all the first loose surface on the first day, and the second day too as he was leading the rally. Today, the third day, it is of Latvala's job and it put him at sufficient pressure from the chasing team-mate and the Kiwi who are closer in a few seconds behind.

Thierry Neuville and Dani Sordo, the other two Hyundai drivers Dani also continued their attack. The Belgian dropped down on the leader board as his car had some technical issues on SS4, which he sorted out later and went on to win the next stage. He recovered to 10th position by the end of day 2, from 20th after SS4.

Argentinian local driver, Marcos Ligato in a privately entered, in the only Citroen DS3 WRC showed a consistent drive against the top notch drivers, hold on to 9th overall despite a small off and non-terminal crash in SS4.

Out of day's 8 stages, JML claimed 4 wins, 2 by Ogier and one each by Neuville and Paddon.

Overall Top 10 Positions, after SS9 (Day 2)

Pos # Driver Time Diff Prev Diff 1st
1. 2 FIN J. LATVALA 1:26:31.3

2. 1 FRA S. OGIER 1:26:39.2 +7.9 +7.9
3. 20 NZL H. PADDON 1:26:42.7 +3.5 +11.4
4. 9 NOR A. MIKKELSEN 1:26:57.0 +14.3 +25.7
5. 4 ESP D. SORDO 1:27:20.3 +23.3 +49.0
6. 5 NOR M. OSTBERG 1:28:39.2 +1:18.9 +2:07.9
7. 16 NOR H. SOLBERG 1:30:35.7 +1:56.5 +4:04.4
8. 6 FRA E. CAMILLI 1:32:05.1 +1:29.4 +5:33.8
9. 81 ARG M. LIGATO 1:32:36.4 +31.3 +6:05.1
10. 3 BEL T. NEUVILLE 1:34:05.7 +1:29.3 +7:34.4

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