2000 Archive

2000 Rally of Thailand

Malaysian driver Karamjit Singh won the 2000 Rally of Thailand after a titanic last day battle with New Zealand's Possum Bourne. Going into the last leg of the event Singh driving a Proton Pert was over 3 minutes ahead of Bourne who had suffered a puncture and diff problems on the 2nd day. With these retified Possum set out to claw back the time and the lead with his much faster Group A Subaru Impreza. Over the very rough Thailand roads cut to pieces by rain-storms in the days prior to the event start, Bourne risked everything, to gain back the lead but Singh with-stood the pressure to head Bourne by 36 seconds into the final control. ' I'm absolutely delighted -at the start of the day I gave myself a 50:50 chance of winning, as Possum's car is a much quicker group A car and mine is Group N - the roads were so rough'.

Bourne was happy with his result, though not winning he gave it everything thoroughly enjoying the battle with Singh 'We gave it everything we had. I drove the car to the absolute limit and beyond sometimes. Our car's got a cracked windscreen and buckled roof from the big jumps!

Behind Bourne came Simon Evans driving a F2 Volkswagon Golf, ' it was good for my driving to experience these roads - they're so rough it requires a different approach'.

The Thailand Rally was the final round of the 2000 Asia Pacific Rally Championship, with Possum Bourne in his Caltex-Havoline Subaru winning the championship overall, Karamjit Singh 2nd and winner of the APRC Group N class in a EON Proton Pert. Simon Evans took the F2 catergory with his Volkswagon Golf. Thailand also decided the FIA Asia Zone Rally Challenge with Indian champion Hari Singh winning in a Proton Satria.

1. Karamjit Singh (MAL), Proton Pert, 2.17.29
2. Possum Bourne (NZ), Subaru Impreza WRX, 2.18.05
3. Simon Evans (AUZ), Volkswagen Golf, 2.19.51
4. Low Lek Han, Proton Pert, 2.22.20
5. Tawatchai Pasomsup, Mitsubishi Lancer, 2.29.33
6. Surarat Prapassom, Mitsubishi Lancer, 2.29.41

2000 Rally of Malaysia

8 Oct, Kuala Lumpur:

Possum Bourne in his Subaru won the 2000 Rally of Malaysia and in doing so became the 2000 Asia Pacific Rally Champion with one event to go. Last year's APRC champion KatasuhikoTaguchi went out of the event, while leading, with engine damage to his Mitsubishi Lancer - a symptom of the very rough and hot conditions.

Bourne dominated the final leg of Rally of Malaysia 2000 to win the event by a margin of 4minutes 53seconds over APRC rival Karamjit Singh of Malaysia. The 17 championship points earned in Malaysia gives Bourne's Caltex Havoline Subaru team total of 61 Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) points, an achievement which guarantees the team the championship title with one event to spare.

"What a great day!" enthused Possum at the finish in Malaysia's Merdeka Square. "The car was performing brilliantly, the weather was superb, and Stace [co-driver Mark Stacey] and I were really pumped up by all the supporters who turned out in force once again. We had a reasonable margin built up from yesterday which took some of the pressure off us, so we basically had a lot of fun out there today."

Karamjit Singh driving a Proton Pert wrapped up the APRC Group N title with second overall and first in Group N, 'now we can go to Thailand (27-29 Oct) and have some fun' commented Singh at the finish.

For full results go to: www.malaysianmotorsports.com


New Zealander Possum Bourne led from start to finish in the 2000 Rally of China, winning by a 10 minutes and extending his leading in the Asia Pacific Rally Championship.

Driving his Caltex-Havoline Group A Subaru Impreza, Bourne had an untroubled run on the mountain roads around Shaoguan, Guangdong province - winning each of the 13 high-speed special stages.

In second place and winning Formula 2 was Australian Simon Evans, in a Volkswagen Golf - having his first drive in Asia. Third, and winner of the Group N production car category, was Hong Kong-based Chan Chi Wah in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 4.

Malaysian driver Karamjit Singh's event got off to a bad start when his Proton PERT rally car, recce car and service trucks were found to have been sent to the USA instead of Hong Kong. Singh's sponsor, Malaysian Airlines, airfreighted an Evo 3 Proton Wira, plus limited spares.

But on the first day of the rally the gearbox broke, putting Singh out of the outright battle and denying him any chance of regaining his former lead in the APRC overall points contest. However under the APRC's super-rally rules Singh was able to continue the next day - running second to Bourne on Legs 2 and 3 of the rally to take six bonus points that extended his lead in the Group N standings.

The second day's action was all in the F2 - with first Korean driver JY Park crashing out after setting top five times on several stages and then Nobuhiro "Monster" Tajima crashing his Suzuki Baleno. Tajima was flat-out in sixth gear and entering a fast right hand bend when the engine suddenly lost power - pitching Tajima and co-driver Glenn McNeall over a bank and into a large tree.

The Rally of China was held in Shaoguan area for the first time - attracting huge crowds and an enthusiastic response from the drivers to the event's variety of mostly-smooth roads.

1.Possum Bourne/Mark StaceyNZSubaru Impreza WRX3:27:42
2.Simon Evans/Claire ParkerAUSVolkswagen Golf Kitcar3:40:35
3.Chan Chih Wah/Chan Tang Po LinCHMitsubishi Lancer Evo 4 3:48:32
4.Yao Jindong/He LeiCHMitsubishi Lancer Evo 43:56:13
5.Zhou Yong/Guo ZhengCHPeugeot 1064:00:24


left Petter Solberg (Norway) won the 3rd round of the Asia Pacific Rally Championship, Rally of New Zealand driving a Ford Focus and by taking second place points Possum Bourne (New Zealand) in a Subaru Impreza now leads the championship race. Third overall in New Zealand and winner in Group N was Manfred Stohl (Austria) in aMitsubishi Lancer Evo Vl.

The previous championship leader in the APRC, Karamjit Singh (Malaysia) driving a Group N, Proton finished the event, but out of the points. However Singh is still in second placeoverall in the championship after his win in the first round, Rally of Indonesia. The other title contender Katsuhiko Taguchi (Japan) in a Group A Mitsubishi Lancer crashed out of the rally on the first stage after just 12 kilometres of rallying.

By: FAI Rally of Canberra

Subaru driver Possum Bourne has started his 2000 Asia-Pacific Rally Championship campaign with an emphatic win at the FAI Rally of Canberra, putting him within one point of series leader Karamjit Singh of Malaysia. Bourne won all three legs, to complete the event in 3 hours, 31 minutes and 57 seconds and claim maximum available points from the second round of the international series.

Last year’s APRC Champion Japan's Katsuhiko Taguchi finished second having his first drive in a works supported Group Mitsubishi Lancer Ev0 6 and finished 6 mins 21secs behind Bourne.

The result sets up a tight fight for series leadership at the next round in Bourne's own territory, Rally New Zealand in July. Current championship leader Malaysia's Karamjit Singh (Proton), winner of the opening round in Indonesia, finished fifth outright and third in class. He holds a championship lead of just one point over Bourne and eight in front of Taguchi.

Bourne's dominance in Canberra began on stage two of the three day event and extended to winning 17 of 21 competitive stages. Multiple stage wins were a key factor in Bourne's recovery from a flat tyre, which dropped him to tenth spot following the first 26km stage of the 296km event.

In the Group N Production Car class Cody Crocker (Subaru) finished in front of Japan's Fumio Nutahara (Mitsubishi) and Singh to come away with third place outright. In the process Crocker delivered to Team Subaru its first combined outright and production car class win at the same Asia-Pacific event.

Australia's Neal Bates (Toyota) failed to complete Leg One after leaving the road and bogging his Corolla. Under Asia-Pacific Championship rules he was able to re-enter for Legs Two and Three, but was not classified in the overall results, despite setting a number of fastest stage times.

The Formula 2 section went the way of Japanese driver Masaki Yamada (Toyota) after hot favourite Simon Evans failed to complete the second leg with a broken front cross-member.

Event sponsor FAI Insurance parted with a special $10,000 award split between Bourne, Taguchi and Bates after they each beat the existing EPIC stage record. The world record $50,000 rallying prize FAI offered remained unclaimed, although Bourne was just 2.3 seconds short of the mark.

For free photographs please go to the following website: http://www.linear-photographs.com/gallery/aprc-free-pics/

By: Wayne Munro

MALAYSIAN Karamjit Singh drove what he termed the slowest rally of his career to survive sometimes treacherously slippery conditions and take an all-the-way win in the Gudang Garam Rally Indonesia, round one of the 2000 F.I.A. Asia-Pacific Rally Championship.

Even heavy rain that made three of the stages "very scary" couldn't upset Singh's clean-sweep of the event that marks Indonesia's return to international motorsport after two years of civil unrest and the secession of East Timor.

The 38-year-old Singh won each of the 12 stages (an total of 251kms of special stages) en route to taking his Group-N Proton PERT to the Medan finish line virtually unscratched - despite describing the wet stages as even more slippery than the conditions experienced in 1997's Indonesian World Rally Championship round.

Japanese drivers were among the leading APRC contenders who stayed away from this opening round, based in the city of Medan, in northern Sumatra - their absence reducing the international content in the 29-car field to just nine overseas drivers and navigators.

The Indonesian organisers are utterly committed to regaining WRC status for their event as soon as possible and the government support for that ambition was obvious - with 100s of police and military mobilised to help rally traffic through the jammed northern Sumatran roads between stages.

Singh was complimentary about the organisation - and admitted his pre-rally fears about stage security were proven groundless. Big crowds turned out each day, but rally officials had to take action only once because of it - cancelling stage eight on the second day due to a mixture of large crowds and a very slippery road.

In fact the only shortcoming in the event was the lack of serious competition for the experienced Singh and co-driver Allen Oh and their committed Petronas-backed team.

A group of top Indonesian drivers was led by Chandra Alim, returning to rallying after several years devoted to circuit racing, Fauzy Aldjufrie and young up-and-coming drivers Aga Kartiwa, Harun Dalimunthe and Rifat Sungkar - in a variety of Mitsubishi Lancer Evolutions, all in Group N form.

But Singh was truly in a class of how own - taking a 17 second lead on the first 23km stage on Friday afternoon and the same on the second stage.

Saturday's stages continued in the same vein - even as heavy rain saturated the Sei Merah stage between the day's two runs over the 23km route, slowing Singh, for instance, by 2m 13s and others by much more: By the end of the day he was 1m 42s ahead of Alim's Evo 3, despite a problem with a front diff.

Next in order behind were Kartiwa, a 26-year-old rookie rally driver who hasn't long made the move from motocross into an Evo 6 and Fauzy (in an Evo 4) - already spread out by more than five minutes.

Unhappily, by Saturday night the rally had lost three entries in crashes - all on the narrow, rough and heavily-trafficked touring roads..two of them by crashing head-on into each other! Rifat Sungkar - who'd been on a comeback from mechanical troubles on stage 1, with four top-four results - collided on a tight corner with Abdi Arif Harahap between stages six and seven. The drivers and navigators escaped unhurt. Steven Suhanda's Ford Escort Cosworth had already broken an axle while touring.

Singh admitted later that he was unsure how fast to go on the muddy, slippery stages on the final morning after heavy Saturday night rain and ended up driving so slowly "I lost concentration several times."

But everyone was driving to survive and Singh's lead still steadily opened up - winning by 53 seconds on the 15.6km 12th stage.

At the finish line Alim was still second, almost 6 minutes ahead of Kartiwa, with Fauzy another 8m 38s behind him.

In a giant-killing role in fifth place outright and first in Formula 2 was Malaysian Gunasaleen Rajoo and his navigator Hilmi Zul Hasan in their Group N Proton Satria 1.6 MTs - a partnership that had also won Rally Indonesia's first-ever running of a new regional championship.the F.I.A. Asian Zone Challenge.

The Challenge is for drivers from the region, behind the wheel of normally-aspirated, two-wheel-drive Group N cars of a maximum 1600cc, this bottom-of-the rung class attracting six entries - four Indonesian-branded Timor S 515is and a pair of Malaysia's Satrias.

The Zone Challenge, which ended on Saturday night after eight of the rally's 13 stages, saw the Malaysian team win by more than six and a half minutes, ahead of nearest rivals Dio Nasution and Indra Prasetyo in their Timor. Rajoo's domination showed clearly, with second, third and fourth places in the Zone all within 1m 37s - with Sultan Djorghi third.

Both Malaysian winners - Singh and Rajoo - are planning to compete in the full APRC, adding to their valuable points won in Indonesia.

Britons Andrew Thomson and Alexis Harper claimed second place in F2 in their Timor, in seventh place overall (behind Dalimunthe) having posed the biggest challenge to Rajoo.


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