1988 - 1918 - APRC 30th Anniversary
2 Apr 2018 - Brian Young and David Thomson

2018 is a milestone year for the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship, the 30th anniversary for the championship that has been running since 1988.

The FIA APRC is spread through a diverse range of countries, climates, cultures and a huge population base of over 2.5 billion people. In the 30 years since the championship began there have been regular events in New Zealand, Australia, Malaysia, Japan, China and India.

The idea of a Pacific Rim championship had been on the drawing board since 70’s however it wasn’t until the late 1980’s that the climate was ripe for such a series. Japan had become a world leader in automotive manufacturing, and an established player in international rallying. Economic prosperity in Asia opened up new marketing opportunities throughout the region, and with the wealth came a growing number of drivers from countries such as Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia.

First held in 1988, the debut series included events in Australia, New Zealand, India and Malaysia, and was won by Japanese driver Kenjiro Shinozuka in his Mitsubishi. His success ensured a high profile for the series in Japan and Mazda gave Californian based Kiwi Rod Millen the nod to run a 323 4WDon its behalf, winning the title in 1989.

The series went from strength to strength, by the mid 1990’s second only to the world championship in stature, attracting full factory teams from Mitsubishi, Subaru, Toyota and drivers the calibre of Colin McRae and Kenneth Eriksson, the latter taking the title three times from 1995-97.

The growing Asian automotive industry had also become involved – Proton from Malaysia, Hyundai and KIA from Korea. That increased influence from Asia has continued into the 21st century and one where the series has been dominated by Indian tyre manufacturer MRF and lately by Indian driver Gaurav Gill.

Excerpts of text from “The New Zealand Rally – Celebrating 25 Years”, by David Thomson.

Main photo: 2008 Four times APRC champion Cody Crocker, MotorImage Subaru (Hiroshi Seiki)

Photo 2: 1995 Rally of Malaysia - Kenneth Eriksson starts 1995 Rally of Malaysia (Brian Young)

Photo 3: 2000 Rally of Malaysia, three times champion Possum Bourne Subaru (Brian Young).

Latest news

New Format for 2019 APRC

China Rally - Return to the Concrete Jungle

Sumiyama and Yasui - 2018 APRC Champions

Hokkaido Rally set to run despite earthquake tragedy

Kopecký fights back to win WRC2 Germany

Seven New Drivers from Japan Register for APRC

APRC looks ahead to 2019. India’s Chandhok re-elected President

Cusco Team 1st and 2nd in Malaysia

Will it be a wet Malaysian Rally?

National Competitors Encouraged to enter their home APRC Event