Team MRF completed their best
season ever in the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) by winning all six
races in the 2014 Championship with Jan Kopecky coasting to the win in the
China Rally Longyou. Kopecký driving an MRF Skoda Fabia S2000 convincingly won
the China Rally reinforcing his and Skoda’s dominance of the series in 2014.
This was stated in a press release issued by MRF.
Kopecký’s task was made easier on Day 1 when
team-mate Gaurav Gill who was leading the event at the time, hit a rock on
Stage 5 that damaged the Skoda’s steering resulting in a heavy crash and
retirement on Stage 6.
China Rally again proved to be
a tough event to finish, especially with the wet conditions on Day 1. Australian Mark Peddar suffered a similar
fate as Gill hitting a rock on Stage 5 and retiring with damaged steering.
Taiwan’s Huilan Shen didn’t make it past Stage 2 after she when off road in her
Fiat Abarth 500.
There was no finish ceremony or celebrations
at 2014 China Rally, after an accident on Stage 6 claimed the life of 20 year
old Taiwanese driver Xie Chengxun.
Kopecký said after his win,
“It’s been a great year and thanks a lot to the whole team it was a great
opportunity in APRC and hopefully I can come back for some rallies in the
future. I think the highlight is we won the championship, our team-mate Gaurav
was very strong, he knows the conditions and we managed to beat him. I’m very happy we showed that Skoda is really
strong, a really strong brand and we showed to everyone our car is really
fantastic. The tyres have been great so a big thank you to Team MRF for making
Cusco Subaru driver Yuya Sumiyama was second
overall and in doing so, won the 2014 Asia Cup for a third time. “Asia Cup
champion and overall 2nd position, very very happy and good result for the
team. The conditions were very slippery and rough condition so we’re lucky”,
said Sumiyama at final service.
It was another giant killing performance from
New Zealander Mike Young bringing his Cusco Proton Satria home in 3rd place
overall and securing the APRC Production Cup. Young was the only driver to
finish all events in 2014 and doing so moved himself into second place in the
drivers points. “It’s amazing for our
team and Cusco, the boys worked so well, not even had a mechanical (problem)
this year - we’re over the moon! Malcolm’s done an awesome job all year, kept
me on my toes and in the grove so we’re really happy. Consistency has rewarded
us with second in the championship in a 1.6 Proton, against all the four-wheel
drive cars it’s just awesome,” he added.
In only his third APRC event
EZY Racing's Dinesh Deheragoda from Sri Lanka found the conditions very
difficult, but is looking forward to the next event in Thailand where he hopes
to secure second in the Asia Cup. He said, “Points for second in Asia Cup is
more than I expected and my congratulations to Sumiyama who is already the Asia
Cup champion mathematically. My target now is to see if I can finish second in
the championship with some more points in Thailand.”