An inspired 2nd Place for Alister in the Rally of Whangarei
Jul 05, 2010
Alister McRae turned in an inspired display of driving to finish second on the latest round of the Asia Pacific Rally Championship, New Zealand’s International Rally of Whangarei, which finished yesterday (Sunday).
The Lanark driver was on the pace throughout the two-day event and his Proton Satria Neo S2000 didn’t miss a beat on roads which Alister rates as being among the best in the world.
Having led the opening APRC round of the season, McRae had high hopes of winning the third round of the series, but a decision to focus on finishing and gaining some much-needed points took precedence.
McRae, however, kept up the pressure at the sharp end of the leaderboard and was rewarded with an entirely untroubled second place.
The former British Rally Champion said: “I knew the car was capable of this kind of performance, and I know it’s capable of going quicker as well. Taking second in the APRC here is really important for the team, it’s a real shot in the arm for everybody. But now we want to win. We know we have the pace to win these APRC rounds and that’s got to be the next step in Australia at the end of the month. In the end, we had the perfect rally. We didn’t have to touch the car at all, the boys didn’t lay a spanner on the PROTON once, which is really encouraging from a reliability point of view. We weren’t going anywhere near flat out with the car, though. The main aim from this event was to pick up points and that’s what we have done. What a great place to go rallying, though. Even in the pouring rain today, it was fantastic to drive those stages again. You can really put the hammer down and push on, knowing the car’s going to stick before leaping over the cambers and into the corner. It’s been a great weekend.”
Alister’s next outing will be on the International Rally of Queensland in Australia (July 30-August 1). Based on the Sunshine Coast, competitors in the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship will not have far to go to the next round of the series, with roué four running just the other side of the Tasman Sea on Australia’s east coast. This event is running as an APRC round for the second season, but Australia has a long tradition of running APRC rounds in both Perth and Canberra. Based at the SurfAir hotel at Marcoola Beach, the event includes 20 stages – including a Friday night superspecial around the town of Caloundra, where the cars will start at 15-second intervals to ensure near non-stop action. The mainstay of the gravel competition will take place, as it has for the last 19 years on this event, in the forestry roads close to the town of Imbil, two hours north of Brisbane.
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