Young international rally driver, Michael Young, is gearing up for a new challenge this weekend as he sets to tackle Rally Thailand for the first time, which doubles as the last round of the Asia Pacific Rally Championship’s (APRC) Asia Cup series, this weekend.
Young, piloting his Cusco Toyota Vitz, says while he’ll be competing in Thailand for the first time, he’s confident of a good result despite his lack of experience at the event.
“I’m hoping my experience in the APRC, and the Malaysian Rally Championship will help me finish this really. Both Maclolm [Read, co-driver] and I want to finish the year off strongly so we’ll be focusing on finishing to get an Asia Cup podium.”
“A few of the other drivers have done rallies here in the past but we’re not seeing it as a disadvantage. We are here for the experience and to gain knowledge of the Thailand roads so that is our main priority.”
The entire Cusco team will be aiming for a 1-2-3 finish in the Asia Cup series, with Young’s Japanese teammates, Shuhei Muta and Yuya Sumiyama currently in first and second-equal respectively.
“If we [Cusco] can do it, it would be awesome,” said Young, “Thailand is a big market for Toyota’s products and cars so it’s important, but it would also be very cool for us.”
After pre-event reconnaissance, Young and co-driver Malcolm Read also say that the roads are fun but it will be another ‘drive to survive’ event.
“I really like the roads but they are really technical and narrow in places with some fast spots. The long straights may hinder our speed against the more powerful four-wheel-drive cars and there is absolutely no margin for error as the roads are lined with trees or rocks, like in Australia and Malaysia.”
Another first for Young sees him contest his first, full, tarmac stage. Neither himself, nor his Cusco Toyota Vitz have ever done a tarmac stage but Young says that Thailand’s tarmac stage looks similar to a Rally Spain road, with big cuts and wide roads.
Despite this asphalt stage, there have been no changes made to the Cusco Toyota Vitz for this event except for minor part replacements for reliability sake.
Thailand Rally is set to start at the Sara Farms headquarters near Lophuri at 6.00pm Friday 6 December. Crews then head north for 126 kilometres of stages during Saturday and approximately 103 kilometres of closed special stages on Sunday, held near rally headquarters, including 48 kilometres of tarmac special stages. The event then finishes back at Sara Farms at approximately 4.30pm on Sunday 8 December.
Young’s APRC campaign is supported by CUSCO, Toyota Racing Developments, Dunlop and Yoda Rallying.