Michael Young has secured a highly respectable second overall placing at the third round of the Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC), held this weekend at the International Rally of Queensland against world-class rivals.
As the only New Zealand team competing in the full APRC season, Young and co-driver Malcolm Read were left flying the Kiwi flag in Australia and both say this result means a lot to them.
“This rally has just been fantastic,” said a jovial Young, “we have shown we have the outright speed to be competitive here and that was our main goal. We are absolutely stoked.”
The duo was able to compete directly against some of Australasia’s top drivers, including Australian Eli Evans, which sweetens Young and Read’s result even more as they prove they have what it takes to be at the top.
Young credits his Cusco Racing team for his solid result, as the team was able to make subtle changes to the Cusco Racing Subaru Impreza throughout the weekend including damper settings and ride height to suit his driving style and therefore allowing him to go faster.
“My Cusco team have given me a great car yet again, just like they always do. The little changes we were able to make made such a huge difference to my performance so I really have to thank them and my engineer for all of their hard work.”
“It was also great to have EZY Racing here from Sri Lanka. Their support means a lot to me and I wouldn’t be here without them. I’m very fortunate to have both Cusco and EZY Racing backing me.”
Although it was not a trouble free run for Young as he hit a bird at 180 kilometres per hour, leaving the cockpit full of feathers and temporarily distracting both him and Read. The pair also suffered a puncture late in the day but fortunately only lost approximately 20 seconds as it happened near the end of the stage and they were able to continue.
“The bird thing was crazy,” laughed Young, “it actually came in through the roof vent and left feathers all over the place. It wasn’t funny at the time but it certainly is now.”
The next rally on the Young’s calendar is the Malaysian Rally, held on the 14 to 16 of August, near Johor Bahru in southern Malaysia. The Malaysian Rally is renowned for being an extreme challenge for man and machine due to intense heat and humidity, and is often known as the rally of attrition.
“We’ll approach Malaysia as every other rally this year; just focus on our own rally and get to the finish. It will certainly be a different experience this year though, being in the four-wheel-drive, as the roads are so narrow and the Cusco Subaru is a bit bigger than my last car,” explained Young.
However before the duo set off to Malaysia, they both return to New Zealand to participate in the Motorsport New Zealand Elite Motorsport Academy in Dunedin. The academy runs for one week and is the ultimate training programme for up-and-coming motorsport superstars.