Kremer takes APRC title

PUNE DEC. 7. Staying focussed on the task at hand, Team MRF Tyres' Armin Kremer finished the MRF-India Rally in second place behind Karamjit Singh, which was enough to bag the overall title in the Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) 2003.

It was a `double' for the German as well as his team, which had secured the Group N (production cars) championship on the opening day.

The concluding leg of the fifth and final round of the APRC season on Sunday comprised three Special Stages.

Defending overall champion Karamjit, driving a modified Group A Proton Pert, finished on top in all three stages, making another 53 seconds over Kremer, who was piloting a Group N (production car) Mitsubishi Lancer Evo7, to win the Rally.

The Malaysian of Indian origin had begun the day with a 90-second lead. He collected 18 points in this rally to Kremer's 15.

But it was Kremer, the 2001 European champion, who emerged on top in the APRC 2003 season championship by one point, finishing at 53 points to Karamjit's 52 counted over the best four rounds.

"The puncture that happened nine kilometres to the finish (I was leading till then) in the opening leg which resulted in me losing that extra bonus point did me in. Otherwise, I'd have won the overall," said Karamjit, the Group N World champion. "I regret having missed the season-opener in Canberra," he added.

Kremer, who spoke of the encouragement from his wife and four-year-old daughter Ella, said the victory in this round was the most satisfying.

"The terrain was very challenging of the five rounds and, I must say, very tough on the car," he concluded.

Team MRF's other entrant, Austrian David Doppelreiter, finished third in the Group N category in this rally as well as in the Championship.

The final results (Overall) of the concluding round of the MAI-Indian National Rally Championship, which was run concurrently, were yet to be confirmed, pending decision on a protest by Karandip Singh.

Lohit V. Urs won the 1,400cc category and Prithveen Rajan the Rally Star Cup. Arun Mammen, Joint Managing Director, MRF, gave away the prizes.

The final results (provisional):

APRC overall: 1. Karamjit Singh (Allen Oh), Malaysia, Group A, Proton Pert, 3:53.40.9s; 2. Armin Kremer (Fred Berssen), Germany, Team MRF, Group N, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo7, 3:56.03.1; 3. Nico Caldarola (P. Cecchini), Italy, Group N, Evo7, 4:02.56.5; 4. David Doppelreiter (Ola Floene), Austria/ Norway, Team MRF, Group N, Evo 7, 4:06.15.1.

APRC Group N: 1. Armin Kremer, 2. Nico Caldarola, 3.David Doppelreiter.

APRC championship standings (after fifth & final round): Overall: 1. Armin Kremer/Fred Berssen 53 points; 2. Karamjit Singh/Allen Oh 52; 3. Geof Argyle/Steve Smith 45; 4. Fumio Nutahara/S. Hayashi 37.

Group N: 1. Kremer/Berssen 72 points; 2. Nutahara/Hayashi 54; 3. David Doppelreiter/Ola Floene 26; 4. Nico Caldarola/P. Cecchini 23.

MAI-Indian National Rally championship:

Provisional classifications: INRC 1,400cc: Lohit V. Urs/Moosa Sherif (Esteem) 3 (2:39:32.2); Team Movva (Rahul Kantharaj/Vivek Bhat) 4 (2:44:48.3).

Rally Star Cup: Prithveen Rajan/Jay Kumar (Esteem) 1 (2:50:49.2); Team GMW (Sanjay Agarwal/Ashwin Naik, Esteem) 2 (2:54:08.2); Ranjit Ballal/Shanmuga Nataraj (Esteem) 3 (2:54:52.6).

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