Promising Kiwi emerges second as league leader Skoda’s Tidemand takes the race for MRF team
Partnership between Japan’s Cusco, Sri Lanka’s Ezy Racing and Mike Young proves positive and holds good prospect for the Asian leg of APRC and the future
Winners of the Queensland, Australia rally of the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship, Team MRF’s Pontus Tidemand (third from right) and co-driver Emil Axelsson both from Sweden take a look at the cheque received from Wurth on the podium. Others from left are second place Cusco-EZY Racing co-driver Malcolm Read and driver Mike Young both from New Zealand and third place Bosowa Rally Team driver Subhan Aksa of Indonesia and co-driver Nicola Arena of Italy
Japan Cusco and Sri Lanka’s EZY Racing driver Mike Young (left) shows thumbs up along with co-driver Malcolm Read both from New Zealand as they celebrate the second place victory at the Queensland, Australia rally of the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship
on Sunday. Mike came into the competition placed at
New Zealand’s bright new prospect Mike Young raced to second place at the Queensland Australia leg of the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship as part of a team from Cusco Japan and Sri Lanka’s EZY racing on Sunday.
The gruelling 227 kilometre, 18 stage rally was won by Swedish driver and current leader Pontus Tidemand, stretching his overall standing in the APRC 2015. Tidemand also won the Pacific Cup as the Championship now moves to Asia.
Driving a more powerful Skoda Fabia S2000, Tidemand and co-driver Emil Axelsson clinched the Queensland contest with a timing around 4 minutes ahead of second placed Mike Young and Malcom Read who drove a Subaru Impreza WRX Sti four-wheel drive.
Subhan Aksa-Nicola Arena driving a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X came third around 6 minutes and 37 seconds behind the winner. Thus far the overall APRC second place slot belongs to Gaurav Gill of India, driving for the second Team MRF using a Skoda Fabia S200, but was unfortunate to have not finished the rally as his vehicle experienced engine trouble during the 18th stage.
In terms of machine-to-machine competition, the contest for Mike Young was the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X driven by Indonesia’s Subhan Aksa; overtaking the more powerful Skoda Fabia with Gill behind the wheel at the 13th stage was a thriller. The Queensland contest saw 11 competitors.
An elated Mike told the Daily FT covering the Queensland Rally of the APRC, that he was happy to have finished second against many odds.
It was Mike’s first effort driving a four-wheel production car and he knew the challenge posed by the Skoda which is built for rallying, weighing lighter and more powerful than the Subaru. The challenge he said was not to be reckless or take too many risks but be smart and sustain energy, the car and skill throughout the rally.
The impressive finish by Mike was commended by EZY Racing founder Shafraz Hamzadeen who was overjoyed after the completion of the race.
“I am very happy with the outcome. We knew Mike had what it takes to make it to the podium but the real thrill was when he overtook the powerful Skoda of Gill during one of the stages. I believe the pressure put by Mike with his skill, speed, endurance and composure, made a dent in the comfort zone of Skoda drivers,” added Shafraz.
He said that combination of or partnership between Japan’s Cusco and EZY Racing and Mike has proved great and the performance at Queensland was very promising as the six -race APRC moves next to Asia starting from Malaysia, Japan and China. The Pacific belt was completed with Queensland on Sunday and prior to that New Zealand and New Caledonia.
Shafraz said key lessons from Queensland Rally will be useful for Mike’s as well as the Cusco-EZY team moving forward in the Asian segment of APRC. Japan’s Cusco is a leading automotive parts company, specialising in car suspension parts bringing sturdy and performance car to the partnership along with technical and logistical support and back up.
Mike attributed the support from EZY as a key factor to make that extra effort and come in second at the Queensland rally.
The tie up with the 22-year-old Mike, who is considered to be one of the best new prospects in the Asia Pacific Rally circuit, is a fresh strategic move by EZY to become a recognised motor racing team in Asia Pacific. Mike has previously won triple APRC titles two years in a row and finished second overall in the 2014 APRC Drivers’ Championship.
The FIA APRC has been recognised since 1988 as one of the premier regional championships in World Rallying. Six regions make up the FIA regional rally championship series with events spread across the globe. Geographically APRC covers the largest area and represents almost 40% of the world population.
More details on the EZY Racing’s Australian Rally will be available on www.fb.com/ezyracing.