Following his Rally Estonia debut in July where he finished second in class, Kiwi rally driver Michael Young now flies straight to West China and Zhangye, a beautiful historic city near the Mongolian border for the third round of the Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC).
After enjoying a short break in Europe, Young is now preparing for his next rally, the China Rally held this weekend on August 6th and 7th in Zhangye where he’ll debut the new BYD Hybrid rally car; a first for an FIA-sanctioned event.
Zhangye is the new base for the 2016 FIA APRC China Rally and also doubles as a round of the Chinese Rally Championship (CRC).
Young has competed at APRC China Rally for the past two years, however shifting to a different region means it will be a completely new event and one that equally may bring new opportunities as he debuts with the Chinese BYD Rally team, who compete with a fleet of Hybrid or electric rally cars.
Not well known outside China, BYD produced more plug-in electric cars than any other company in the world last year and have backing from Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway and more recently Samsung Electronics.
While the company has been competing in China for over two years, Young will be BYD's first international driver and he said: “This is an exciting opportunity to work with a rally team that's bringing the latest battery and New Energy technology into motorsport. This is the future of racing and its great to be part of that process".
While Young is entered into the FIA APRC event, he will not be eligible to score drivers’ championship points due to regulations, but is still ecstatic to be among the first to drive a hybrid rally car in an FIA rally event.
“BYD, the APRC and even the WRC are very keen to see this car [BYD Hybrid] running in more international events and to the FIA rules and regulations, so I’m honoured to be among the first in the world to be offered the opportunity to do this.”
Young is also set to work with a local Chinese co-driver, in a similar deal to his recent Japanese Rally Championship adventure, while his regular co-driver Malcolm Read competes in Sri Lanka.
“My regular co-driver Malcolm [Read] will attend a rally in Sri Lanka for EZY Racing, our team sponsor in the APRC. It will be an exciting weekend for both of us, even though we're at completely different events,” explained Young.
Young’s campaign is supported by Cusco, EZY Racing, Dunlop, Dreams India, Yoda Rally, Verandah Apartments and KOS Sunglasses.