New Zealand rally driver Michael Young is focused on getting another solid result at the fourth round of the Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) in his Cusco Racing Proton Satria Neo at the Malaysian Rally based in Johor Bahru this weekend, after his record breaking win at the same event last year.
The 21 year old from Opotiki in New Zealand’s Bay of Plenty region, became the youngest ever driver to win an APRC round at the Malaysian Rally in 2013 and says while he’ll try to replicate last year’s stunning result, he knows it will be difficult, given the complexity of the Malaysian roads.
“This is a really tough rally. You can have good grip for ages, then suddenly nothing! That causes big problems because the trees are often right on the edge of the road, along with big ditches, so you have to be quite conservative at times to ensure a good result here, otherwise you end up hitting a tree or getting stuck" he says.
“Then when you add the heat to the equation, it becomes even harder. The heat can affect your concentration and cause all sorts of other problems, like dehydration, so we have to be pretty vigilant with that too. We actually wear specially made cool suits to keep our body temperatures down as there is no air condition or ventilation in the rally cars.”
Michael will again be joined by fellow New Zealander and co-driver, Malcolm Read, who has just finished a stint observing the World Rally Championship (WRC) event in Finland alongside Hayden Paddon.
“Last year the Malaysian Rally was our first event together, so it’s kind of nice to be back here a year later, with all the titles we’ve managed to grab. Malcolm is a great asset to the team and I’d be lost, literally, without him,” explains Mike.
Malcolm adds: “The last year has been massive for me as a co-driver. There has been some amazing opportunities pop up, including the APRC with Mike and of course going to observe a WRC event, but I am really looking forward to the challenge of Malaysia again this weekend.”
The Kiwi duo will contest the Malaysian event in their two-wheel-drive Cusco Racing Proton Satria Neo, respected in Asian rallying circles for its reliability on the tough, tight, slippery roads around the palm oil plantations where the event is run.
Mike adds that reliability will also be a key element to his result as he’s also determined to keep his championship placings, including the lead in the two-wheel-drive, Junior and Production Cups along with holding fourth in the overall APRC Drivers Championship.
The Malaysian Rally starts on Friday at 8.45pm at Angsana Complex before heading north on Saturday to Kota Tinggi for the first run of special stages. The crews will compete across fourteen special stages on Saturday and Sunday before finishing at approximately 4.00pm on Sunday afternoon back at Angsana.
To keep up to date with Michael and his team during the rally, head to: https://www.facebook.com/MikeYoungMotorsport
Mikes APRC campaign is supported by Cusco, Dunlop, Yoda Rallying, OMP, CRC Speedshow, Club Cadet and Sommet Sports.
Michael Young’s 2014 APRC Calendar
Round 1: 12-13 April, International Rally of Whangarei, New Zealand
Round 2: 17-18 May, Rally New Caledonia
Round 3: 21-22 June, International Rally of Queensland, Australia
Round 4: 16-17 August, Malaysian Rally, Malaysia
Round 5: 27-28 September, Rally Hokkaido, Japan
Round 6: 08-09 November, China Rally, China