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RacerViews’ exclusive gallery from the APRC Rally Queensland

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RacerViews was at the International Rally of Queensland over the weekend as the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship, Australian Rally Championship and Queensland Rally Championship all competed for honours.

Here we take a look at what happened in the Asia Pacific Rally Championship.

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Esapekka Lappi, the reigning Finnish Champion was mega quick in the MRF Skoda and after his teammate had problems, he was untouchable

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The rally got underway with a spectator superspecial around the Nambour showgrounds.  The place was packed with rally fans

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The little Toyota and Protons were no match for the Group N or S2000 cars

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India’s Gaurav Gill won last time out in New Caledonia but tyre and suspension woes ruled him out at the beginning of day 2

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Adrian Coppin, in his Ford Fiesta R2 took great second place, the Canberra native was looking to get international rally experience

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The Knowles duo (husband and wife, Simon and Margot) took a great third spot in their Evo IX

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A puncture cost Atsushi Masumura a podium chance.  He lost four minutes in Saturaday’s final stage – a long one at 28.57km

More photos after the text.

The rally in brief – courtesy of the IROQ

ESAPEKKA Lappi had a job to do this weekend and he did it in fine style with a dominant win for Skoda in the International Rally of Queensland on the Sunshine Coast today.

The 22-year-old Finnish Rally Champion and co-driver Janne Ferm cruised home after 20 stages of the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship third round with a margin of almost 18.5 minutes over the Australian Ford crew of Adrian Coppin and Tim Batten.
Victory boosted Lappi back into the drivers championship lead and strengthened Skoda’s bid for the Manufacturers Championship, following a costly non-finish in the previous round in New Caledonia.
His Indian-owned MRF Team had been on course for a 1-2 result – replicating round one in New Zealand – until Gaurav Gill’s Skoda broke its suspension on the third stage of the day and had to be retired.
Gill had won the first two stages, but with a deficit of almost two minutes was not intending to do more than close the gap – Lappi had joked he would allow Gill to catch up only by 1 min 59 sec.
Lappi’s discomfort on gravel forestry roads made slippery by overnight rain perhaps explained why Gill was able to win this morning.
“The first two stages were very, very slippery. It was really difficult, but we didn’t have to push and just stayed in the middle of the road,” Lappi said.
“After Gaurav retired we just toured around slowly and carefully. It was very important to have a victory here and get maximum points.
“It’s nicer to win after a tough fight, but a win is a win and it’s always nice.”
Gill said he enjoyed his fight with Lappi, but could not continue it after his car’s right-rear shock absorber collapsed on a fourth-gear straight and left the wheel dragging on the ground with two stages still to run before it could be repaired.
Australians benefited from the misfortunes of Gill and Japan’s Atsushi Masumura (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo).
Coppin scored a totally unexpected second place with his Fiesta R2 after Masamura lost more than four minutes with a puncture on the final stage, the day’s longest at 28.57 kms.
Husband and wife crew Simon and Margot Knowles also surged past Masumura into third and, with Gill out, in addition clinched the APRC Pacific Cup run across the first three rounds.
Coppin’s second place justified his decision to compete in an international-class R2 Ford Fiesta in order to get experience against overseas rivals.
“I just came here for the experience and to get a clean result. I never thought I’d get to second outright in an international event,” the Canberra landscaper said.
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For more of our IROQ coverage check out

Interview with Gaurav Gill

Interview with Eli Evans

APRC photo gallery

Photos by Sam Tickell, July 2013

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