Team MRF’s Jan Kopecky, as expected, emerged on top down under. The overnight leader (co-driver Pavel Dresler) steered his Skoda Fabia S2000 to victory in the International Rally of Queensland, the third round of the 2014 Asia Pacific Rally Championship, which concluded here on Sunday. The win enabled the Czech vault to the top of the drivers’ championship standings ahead of team-mate Gaurav Gill. Gill had crashed out on Saturday after a turn that had badly gone wrong.

Kopecky, who won just two of the five completed stages on the final day, was content with his show over the two days and was all praise for his machine, the tyres that held firm and the paddock manned by the Skoda crew.

Special Stage (SS) 15 had to be cancelled because of wandering livestock, which had made navigation difficult in SS14, and caused a mishap that delayed that stage by 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, Lane Heenan of Racing Torque Engineering, the team that manages and tunes Team MRF’s Skodas, indicated that a new car could be requisitioned for Gaurav Gill for the Malaysian leg of the APRC scheduled to be held mid-August.

Official final classifications (APRC registered drivers): 1. Jan Kopecky (Team MRF) 2:20.09.1; 2. Mark Pedder (Mark Pedder) +06:10.09; 3. Jun Xu (Young Motorsports Club) + 07:41.07.

(V.V. Ramanan is in Australia on the invitation of MRF Ltd.)

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