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Triple 2013 rally champion with Thailand win

New Zealand rally driver, Michael Young, has driven himself to another Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) victory, by securing the championships Asia Cup title, at the Rally of Thailand held over the weekend.

The young rally driver, who turned 21 yesterday, stuck to his original game plan of ‘driving to survive’ with Hamilton based co-driver Malcolm Read, which awarded the pair with the prestigious Asia Cup title, after three tough rounds held in Malaysia, Japan and finally Thailand.

“It’s unbelievable! At the start of this week I never even thought about being Asia Cup champion but it’s been such a crazy event with lots of up’s and down’s and we've ended up on top,” said Young.

“We also had to go up against fast drivers in good four-wheel-drive cars but unfortunately for them, they all ran into troubles and had to retire.”

Young’s main rivals included last year’s Asia Cup winner, Yuya Sumiyama and APRC rookie Shuhei Muta, both from Japan and piloting Subaru Impreza’s who were both on the pace in previous rounds. 2013 APRC Production Cup champion, Sanjay Takale, was also in the title contention, but ultimately retired with gearbox failure on the final stage.

“This event was so tough on the cars. It’s hot, dusty and rough and it’s all about who makes it to the finish. I just want to say a huge thanks to Cusco, Toyota and Dunlop for making it happen, and for giving me a car that went the distance.”

Despite Young’s success, his rally was not without its own dramas after a rock got wedged in a rear brake calliper on the first day, almost ending his title chances early.

“Luckily, my co-driver Malcolm is a trained mechanic, so he was able to fix it on the side of the road after the end of the stage. He really saved the rally for us there so I’m thankful he was with me again.”

Over the summer break, Young returns to his home base, in Perth, where he will work on plans for 2014 but says nothing is confirmed yet.

“I will do everything in my power to make sure I’m back next year. I now have three titles to defend so will be trying my best to get back for next year but obviously funding is always tricky,” explained Young.

Rally Thailand was the last round of the APRC championship for 2013. The series will kick off again in April, 2014, at Young’s local rally, the International Rally of Whangarei in Northland before heading to India, New Caledonia, Australia, Malaysia, Japan, China and Thailand.

Young’s APRC campaign is supported by CUSCO, Toyota Racing Developments, Dunlop and Yoda Rallying.

Photos: Asia Pacific Sports Media