Team MRF’s Chris Atkinson had plenty in his tank on Sunday, topping the timesheets in five out of the seven stages in the second leg of the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) to finish overall second.
Atkinson had to bridge a huge 26-minute gap to have any chance of finishing on the podium. The Australian chased down the pack with some fantastic driving to finish the race with a timing of 3:22:56.6, a clear 1:11.5 seconds ahead of the third-placed Brian Green of Brian Green Motorsport Ltd.
Atkinson was delighted with his performance. “I pushed my car to the limit and luckily it didn’t break down. I am obviously delighted with the second-place finish. I was expecting some bonus points today but this was a huge boost for me for the next two races,” he said.
Alister McRae (co-driver Bill Hayes) of Proton Motorsports, in a Proton Satria Neo 2000, claimed the honours in a carefully-planned and perfectly-executed drive.
Skills and experience
McRae had the skills and experience to emerge unscathed in the gravel roads of the Tai Tak Estate. He won the ninth and the 15th stages in the second-leg to finish with a timing of 2:57:31.5s.
His teammate and overnight leader Per-Gunnar Andersson crashed out in the 10th stage due to electrical failure.
Problems for Gill
There was another casualty on Sunday when Team MRF’s Gaurav Gill suffered the same problem that Atkinson had encountered on Saturday. The pipe to the coolant broke and as a result, the temperature inside the car soared to 60 degrees.
Gill managed to finish the race ninth in the ninth stage. Gill experienced similar problem in Queensland and had to pull out midway after leading comfortably. The Delhi-based driver was unlucky to withdraw from the race as he was driving wonderfully well till then.
Gill was disappointed about not finishing the race for the second time in a row. “I don’t know if it is happening to me only. The Race Torque Engineering guys are doing a splendid job, but couldn’t zero in on the problem.”
The next race will be held in Japan on September 15 and 16.
The results: 1. Alister McRae (Proton Motorsports) 2:57:31.5; 2. Chris Atkinson (Team MRF) 3:22:56.6; 3. Brian Green (Brian Green Motorsport)
Keywords: Asia-Pacific Rally Championship