R. Venkatnarayan

Whangarei (New Zealand): Talk of confidence boosters and one can safely say that both Katsuhiko Taguchi and Cody Crocker haven’t put a foot wrong.

After a recce ahead of the third leg of the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship here on Friday, all the drivers felt the track could pose a few problems.

However, they are high on adrenalin as they all are looking forward to doing a good job. “Winning itself is a motivator,” Crocker said. “I do not want to come second.”

Having said that, he felt it could be a bit of a problem starting first. “The track has a lot and lot of gravel,” he said. The last couple of stages will be interesting though, he felt.

“My game plan would be to continue the good work without bothering about the timings of the others,” he added and pointed out to the disadvantage of starting first.

The plan

For Team MRF’s Taguchi, who is now behind the leader Dean Herridge of Cusco Racing at this stage, the plan would be to take each stage at a time and push the leader. “Being second is not a big disadvantage considering that there is not much of difference in points,” he said.

“The new tyres,” Taguchi said, “are good and it certainly will be of good help. The tyres are ideally suited to these conditions.” He is very sure he would be able to master the track.

His co-driver Mark Stacey laughed off the suggestion that Taguchi and he could have problems communicating. “His comprehension of English is certainly much better than my comprehension of Japanese,” Stacey said.

Saying Taguchi was a good driver, he said communication wouldn’t be a factor they needed to worry about. Instead, they would have to worry about Herridge.

A surprise leader, Herridge said he just had one plan — “start and pick up speed.” With none of the drivers ready to give even an inch to anyone, things promise to be exciting in this picturesque town.

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