Kiwi rally driver, Michael Young, has taken his maiden Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) victory at the 2013 Malaysian Rally held over the weekend after a consistent and steady drive over Malaysia's famous tough roads.
20 year old Young battled through tricky roads and intense heat in his Cusco TRD Toyota Vitz to take the victory after his rivals all retired with mechanical failures or off road excursions.
"It's great, we're absolutely stoked. I'm going to saviour this moment for a long time," said Young, "we just drove our own rally and didn't look at anyone else's stage times just to make sure we didn't push and make any mistakes."
The team's conservative approach to the car breaking stages in the Tai Tak plantations north of rally base Johor Bahru paid off, as Young also took a solid result in the APRC's mini Asia based series, the Asia Cup, contested over three rounds.
Young now sits second in the Asia Cup championship after finishing the Malaysian Rally in second overall, behind eventual rally winner and Cusco team-mate, Shuhei Muta.
"This result is great for our championship fight but the next round in Japan is also important for us as it's both Cusco's and Toyota's home rally."
The Asia Cup battle will continue at the next APRC round in Japan, followed by Thailand later in the year which Young is set to compete in.
Young credits his win and weekend success to his entire Cusco TRD Toyota team which he says "wouldn't have been possible without the enormous amount of support."
"The guys [service crew] all did an amazing job this weekend and so did Malcolm [Read] who read the pace notes faultlessly all weekend."
"To come to this rally, which is famous for being extremely difficult, and finish like this with little stress over the weekend is a real credit to everyone. The encouragement from both inside the car and outside it made a huge difference to my performance and I'm thankful for that."
Malcolm Read, of Hamilton, joined Young as his co-driver for the first time at the Malaysian Rally and the duo says they really enjoyed working together.
"Malcolm and I worked really well together. Pace notes are so important here in Malaysia as there is always something to catch you out like ditches, trees and so on. Malcolm delivered the notes perfectly and made sure I got to the finish."
"I really enjoyed my weekend with Mike and being my first time in Malaysia, I knew a mature approach for this rally was important. We had a lot of fun and I hope we can work together again soon," said co-driver Malcolm Read.
Scott Beckwith, a former APRC and World Rally Championship co-driver also joined the team in an advisory role and made a huge difference to the team with his knowledge and experience of the Malaysian rally during the course of the weekend. Young adds Beckwith's advice proved invaluable, and so did his cool suits, which are used to keep body temperatures down inside rally cars.
Young now sits fourth in the APRC drivers' championship standings, only 12.5 points behind championship leader Gaurav Gill.
Young's APRC campaign is supported by CUSCO, Toyota Racing Developments, Dunlop and Yoda Rallying.