Deheragoda fifth in Asia Cup Leg-1 as Jan Kopecky leads in APRC
MRF Skoda team’s star driver Jan Kopecky reigned supreme with an
overall timing of :16:14.8 hours when the first leg of the Asia Pacific
Rally Championship’s (APRC) fifth round completed 11 super stages over
nearly 130 KMs in Japan’s northern island Hokkaido yesterday. After
Friday’s opening special stage (SS-1), 10 more special stages were
worked off yesterday, offering Hokkaido’s rally fans a superb show of
Dinesh Deheragoda competing in the Rikubetsu circuit during
Dinesh driving creating a water splash, during a special
EZY Racing’s Dinesh Deheragoda, representing Sri Lanka for the first
time in APRC has lifted to the fifth place in the Asia Cup, improving
his previous day’s ranking by one position. Deheragoda completed the 1KM
inaugural special super stage at sixth place on Friday.
Even though it was not the best day for Lankan driver as his
Mitsubishi EVO’s performance has been greatly hindered by a mechanical
problem just after yesterday’s initial super stage (SS-2) begun and he
had to compromise his speed through out remaining stages without facing
the risk of an early retirement. Deheragoda completed the SS-2
(10.4Kms), SS-3 ( 4.63Kms) and SS-4 (14.54Kms) at seventh in the Asia
Cup and Became sixth in SS-5, SS-6 and SS-7 after Japan’s Kohei Izuno
retired during the fifth super stage. The MRF Skoda’s champion driver
Gaurav Gill who has been very consistent through out the rally, met with
an accident during the super stage eight and made early exit from the
fifth stage, allowing Deheragoda to better his Asia Cup position.
Deheragoda completed the remaining four super stages in fifth place
clocking an overall timing of 1:48:48.9 hours. Y. Sumiyama is presently
on tops the Asia Cup rankings with an overall timing of 1:19:28.2 hours
while J Xu securing second place with an overall performance of
1:24:07.3 hours. Sanjay Talkale is in overall third place, 2:19.3
minutes away from J Xu.
Commenting on yesterday’s rally Deheragoda said, “It has been a
superb experience for my self and my co-driver Safraz Junaid, even
though our vehicle did not gave us the expected support. We both have
greatly improved our personnel skills and the teamwork has been amazing
between two of us. I would have been performed much better if my ER88
But I must tell that all these professional competitors have been
very helpful for us and most of all, the spectators were really amazing.
We were greatly encouraged by passionate Japanese spectators who came in
numbers to cheer us, carrying banners and our pictures,” Deheragoda
explained. The main spectator attraction has been the super stages
worked off at spectacular Rikubetsu Racing Circuit where thousands of
rally fans were seen at the venue where the drivers engaged in a speed
challenge on hilly gravel terrain.
The second and final leg of the APRC fifth round in Hokkaido will be
worked off today with seven super stages of nearly 100 Kms along with
transportation stages of another nearly 75Kms.