Within the cool and refreshing November weather, the 4th round of the Chinese Rally Championship (CRC) was held around Longyou, in the Zhejiang Province. This round was also the final round of the APRC (Asia Pacific Rally Championship) and many members gathered from surrounding countries including Japan, Australia, and Malaysia.
Longyou is a famous tourist location for its historic caves, boulders and temples. The stages were a mix of winding long mountainous roads made up of loose gravel and concrete tarmac sections. With stages like these, the suspension set ups for the rally cars were a vital key to success. Finding the correct set ups to handle both the gravel and tarmac surfaces were basically dependent on the ability of the dampers.
TEIN offered its onsite support to TYPE Gr.N, HG Damper, Specialized Damper users and rigorous testing sessions took place by all teams including the TYPE Gr.N supported Hong He Team with potential CRC champion P.Flodin, and the KST Team with M.Higgins. All were looking to find the ultimate set up to handle the difficult mixed gravel and tarmac conditions.
The rally started on Friday afternoon in the specially established 1.8km SS1 set within the city limits. Day 1 held on Saturday was the longest of the rally with SS2-9 covering over 143km. Sunday was Day 2, the final day, with SS10-15 covering over 84km.
First up in SS1 was D.Higgins of the Wan Yu Team followed by 6-7 top APRC drivers whom were all separated by just 1second. Day 1 included 4 services starting with a 12min service at 7am, 22min services at 10am and 2pm, followed by the final 47min service at 5pm and the cars were not allowed to be adjusted outside of these times. M.Higgins in the KST Team made minor adjustments including to his suspension set up, and also had different tire selections with each service to finish the day in 1st position. With only a mere 36second lead to his closest rival, he needed to focus hard as one puncture or fault could easily turn things around.
KST Team’s M.Higgins, Wan Yu Team’s D.Higgins and SRTC’s P.Sandell made up the top starting positions for Day 2 followed by the APRC entries, including the Japanese teams and top Chinese drivers and Chinese car manufacturers. The fastest on the day was P.Sandell of the SRTC Team who pushed hard enough to take second position away from Wan Yu Team’s D.Higgins however it was not enough for him to catch top running M.Higgins.
The KST Team and M.Higgins were delighted to avenge the results from last round where the team retired due to the crew’s mishap. The first Chinese driver was Wei, also from KST Team. This also meant that the KST Team took the overall team victory but to top it off, the second Chinese driver, Dong also from KST Team acquired enough points this round to take the 2010 Chinese drivers championship title.
Look forward to more action from the next and final round of the 2010 CRC season held in the Fogang region in the middle of December.