New Zealand rally driver, Michael Young, is ready to tackle the challenging Malaysian roads around Johor Bahru ahead of this weekend’s Malaysian Rally, which doubles as the fourth round of the Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC).
Young is the only registered New Zealand driver in the APRC and is now joined by fellow Kiwi, new co-driver Malcolm Read, making the duo an ‘all Kiwi team’.
“Daniel [Willson – former co-driver] and I had a great run together and we got some good results but the team decided to take a new direction. So we thought because of that, it was time to bring Malcolm Read on board.”
“I’ve known Malcolm for a while so he seemed to be the right fit and we’re really happy to have him along. We’ve only been in the car for a short time and we’re already working well together so it’s pretty positive so far,” said Young.
Read has co-driven in New Zealand and around the world and brings a wealth of knowledge to the Cusco TRD team with him, which will be an important asset as the team tackle the tough stages.
“These roads here are incredibly tricky as you just don’t know where the grip is. Every corner has got something that’s going to catch you out, like ditches, trees on the side of the road, and things like that,” explained Young.
“But we’ve come here with a new approach which we’re hoping works for us this weekend. We just need to reduce our pace slightly and get to the finish. That’s easier said than done in Malaysia though.”
But as part of the new direction for the team, Young has also enlisted the help of experienced rally co-driver, Scott Beckwith, to provide guidance and expertise about the unique nature of the Asian events to assist in his goal of finishing this event.
Beckwith has previously competed in both APRC and World Rally Championship (WRC) events and is currently based in Indonesia so is very familiar with the Asian climate and conditions.
“Having Scott along is another big bonus for us. He’s done a lot of work around our preparation and focus for the event and as part of that he’s organised a cool suit system for us which will be a huge help in countering the insane temperatures we get inside the car.”
A cool suit system is a specially designed garment worn by both the driver and co-driver where its main function is to pump cool fluid through coils embedded in the suit to keep body temperatures down. With temperatures inside the car often reaching over 40 degrees Celsius with over 90 percent humidity, this small kit is essential for the wellbeing and performance of the crew.
Young and his Cusco TRD team were also fortunate enough to squeeze in both a dry and wet test during the pre-event testing session, so the team was able to maximise their knowledge for both potential conditions which is important leading into this rally where the weather can change quickly.
“It was a good opportunity to test our Dunlop wet tyres too. They worked really well in these conditions so that will certainly help us if it turns out to be a wet rally,” said Young.
The Malaysian Rally is set to start from the Angsana Complex in Johor Bahru at 3.30pm on Friday 23 August. Crews then head north of Johor Bahru to compete across 219.90 kilometres of closed special stages during Saturday and Sunday before concluding back at Angsana at approximately 4.00pm on Sunday 25 August.
Young’s APRC campaign is supported by CUSCO, Toyota Racing Developments, Dunlop and Yoda Rallying.