Interesting start to China Rally

Interesting start to China RallyFrom Chris Biewer [ 10/11/2007 ].
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The China Rally had an interesting start and could provide some new names from a region that is relatively new to international rallying. Despite dry conditions it is amazing how slow and technical the stages are. The stages are in a mountain region with smooth, sandy gravel. SS1 = superspecial, SS2 = winners average speed 52km/h! Long SS3 a bit faster at 69km/h!

Subaru Australia driver Dean Herridge leads Lang Xu and Katsuhiro Taguchi after 2 stages (and a superspecial). There is a good fight for 3rd place with the BRChamp of 1999, Martin Rowe, only 0.1s down on Taguchi. Australian Cody Crocker is 5th only 2.6s down on Taguchi. And even David Higgins in 8th is only 15.2s behind 3rd placed Taguchi. This is to underline the amazing performance of Dean Herridge and unknown local man Lang Xu. Herridge leads Taguchi by 27.4s. Chinese Mitsubishi driver Lang Xu in 2nd is still 14.9s ahead of Taguchi in 3rd. To remind, Katsu Taguchi came 8th overall in the recent WRC Rally Japan, socring a WRC point in a Lancer groupN identical to the one he is driving here. Lang Xu is also leading the rally in terms of IRC points elligible crews.

Code Crocker in 5th is navigated by an interesting man, Ben Atkinson. Ben is the brother and former navigator to Subaru WRC star Chris Atkinson. Another interesting team is Gill/McNeall in 10th overall, 5th of the IRC teams. Glenn McNeall is of course another former Subaru WRC team member, former navigator to Chris Atkinson and Toshi Arai. Gaurav Gill is noteworthy for being from India!

Elligible for IRC points, but way down the order, is a number of Honda and VW entries. For Honda there is an old groupA Civic and a few groupN examples. We note a Volkswagen entry for an “old” Mk2 Jetta groupN. It does not seem like an entry of interest for now, but a nice example what the new, growing Chinese automobile market is all about. Here more info on this model of rally car:
http://www.rallye-info.com/carspecs.asp?car=483