June 12, 2013

Skoda set for tough test in the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship

Following the one-two at the opening round of this year's Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (APRC), the newly formed Skoda MRF team is now set for its next big test at the rally in exotic New Caledonia from June 14-16. The Skoda crews, with driving pairs Esapekka Lappi/Janne
Ferm (Finland) and Gaurav Gill/Glenn Macneall (India/New Zealand), head to the second leg of the APRC as favourites.

The APRC could hardly have started better for the team, which is supported by Skoda and Indian tyre manufacturer Madras Rubber Factory (MRF). The two crews achieved an impressive one-two in New Zealand: making their first appearance in an overseas rally, Lappi/Ferm came home ahead of Gill/Macneall.

India's Gill is particularly optimistic ahead of the next stop on the APRC tour, as he lines up as defending champion in New Caledonia. "We won the rally in 2012 and I am looking forward to repeating that feat. I gained valuable experience in New Zealand," said Gill. "However, all but one of the stages in New Caledonia are new this year," said the rally driver.

Team-mate Lappi is also approaching his debut in New Caledonia with due caution. He said, "The perfect start in New Zealand was good for everyone in the team. That includes us, of course, as it was our first outing in the APRC. I will try to retain our speed and rhythm from the last round. However, this is another completely new rally for me."

The Rally New Caledonia consists of 17 special stages around the capital Noumea, with a total 236.59 kilometers against the clock.

"The APRC, as one of the region's most important motorsport events, provides us with outstanding opportunities to present the Skoda brand to a large public," said Dr. Frank Welsch, Member of the Board of Management for Technical Development at Skoda.


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