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Sunday, 28 September 2014

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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 rallying.


Dinesh Deheragoda competing in the Rikubetsu circuit during the SS-3


Dinesh driving creating a water splash, during a special stage

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 supported.

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.

 

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