Triple champion Singh heads down under for PWRC showdown Triple champion Singh heads down under for PWRC showdown Three weeks after taking their third FIA Asia Pacific Championship title on the China Rally Shaoguan (23-24 October) Team Proton...
Triple champion Singh heads down under for PWRC showdown
Triple champion Singh heads down under for PWRC showdown Three weeks after taking their third FIA Asia Pacific Championship title on the China Rally Shaoguan (23-24 October) Team Proton PERT Malaysia drivers Karamjit Singh and Allen Oh head to the final round of the FIA Production Car Championship in Perth, Western Australia (11-14 November) hoping to end their 2004 WRC season in their Gp N Proton PERT on a high. The Telstra Rally Australia holds a lot of fond memories for Karam and Allen as they took their first PWRC title there in 2002, a year which also saw them become the first drivers in history to win both the APRC and PWRC titles in the same year.
Last year also saw a great result for the Malaysian duo as they claimed a strong second on the event, a result they'll no doubt be hoping to emulate as they draw to a close their third consecutive PWRC season. It's not hard to see why the Telstra Rally Australia is one of the favourite events in the WRC calendar. Superb organisation, warm sunshine, uniquely challenging gravel stages and some of the best spectating opportunities seen anywhere in the world are just some of the ingredients which make this event the darling of the rally season.
Home to some of the most demanding stages in the world, Australia offers sun-baked forest roads blanketed with a loose covering of tiny ball bearing like stones which create the impression of driving on marbles. As well as making roads extremely slippery these stones call for some imaginative driver tactics as when they get swept away by each passing car they reveal a much harder and faster surface underneath. Drivers therefore running at the head of the field are considered at a distinct disadvantage. This year the event returns to its more traditional November slot in the middle of the Australian summer guaranteeing some much welcomed warm sunshine. Rally Australia is also the final round of the WRC season taking the place of Wales Rally GB marking the first time in 24 years that the WRC has ended outside of Europe.
Karam said: I am looking forward to Rally Australia. Unfortunately we are not in the fight for the title now, but we want to finish the Championship on a high. With four drivers still fighting for the title the pace will be hard and fast, so it will not be easy. The weather is always good in Australia. It gives the event a feel-good factor that puts everyone in a good mood. "I will be using this event as practice for Rally India, the final round of the Asia Pacific Championship in a couple of weeks. Both Allen and I have already been confirmed as Champion Co-Driver and Driver respectively, but we still want to win the manufacturer's title for Proton. To do that, we must win the rally and both legs, so we need to be fully up to speed."
The Telstra Rally Australia runs from the 11-14 November and covers 388.25kms in a total distance of 1426.56kms over three competitive legs and 25 special stages. The rally is based in Perth, the Capital of Western Australia, and for the first time this year Perth will also host the single service park area for the event at Gloucester Park which also plays host to the super special stage. The rally begins on Thursday (11 November) at 18.30 with a single run through the 2.35km Gloucester Park super special stage.
Leg 1 continues on Friday morning (12 November) at 07.00 and is the longest day of the event. Drivers will contest six special stages to the south of Perth before heading back to the city for two runs through the Gloucester Park super special.
Leg 2 (Saturday 13 November) starts at 08.00 and consists of eight special stages to the east of Perth before concluding once again with a double run of the Gloucester Park super special.
The third and final leg begins at 05.30 on Sunday 14 November. Drivers contest six final special stages, the first two of which are run to the east and from there drivers head south to the Sotico plantation. This area is famous for its many jumps and watersplashes providing some truly unmissable viewing opportunities for spectators. The rally finishes in Perth at 16.00, local time, on Sunday 14 November.