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Subhan Aksa – IROQ “It was a very challenging event”

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Aksa on the International Rally of Queensland, 2015
Aksa on the International Rally of Queensland, 2015

Indonesia’s Subhan Aksa has been Indonesia’s export to the rallying world of late, taking to the WRC2 with a Ford Fiesta and, this year, he has returned to the Asia Pacific Rally Championship.

He last competed in the full APRC back in 2006 with a Mitsubishi Evo 8, taking eighth in the Championship – and he took on the Pacific Cup in 2011. Upon his return, though he has been in the WRC, competing in both the WRC2 category and the Production category – and competing against the world’s best has undoubtedly hardened him as a competitor and increased his pace.

His WRC high came on Rally Catalunya where he took fourth in WRC2.

Queensland though, saw him gain his first APRC podium, reflecting the pace that he gained while rallying in Europe.

“It was a very challenging event for us right from day one. We are very happy to be on the podium.” Aksa said after the rally.  He had to fend off Eli Evans and battle Mike Young, something that he expects to do next time out. “Mike will be very fast and a challenge for us in Malaysia.”

The Queensland roads though were not easy for any of the competitors with heavy rain shortening many stages before the rally.

“From the forecast the roads should be very dry and they are drying out quickly, the only problem is that we want to be careful of the muddy places and the places that won’t dry out so fast”

There were a few challenges along the way as he battled for a podium – most notably on Sunday morning when he was battling hard with Young and Evans.  The first stage of the day was almost his last

Aksa over the ceremonial finish at the International Rally of Queensland - taking third
Aksa over the ceremonial finish at the International Rally of Queensland – taking third

“In the first stage this morning we spun in fourth gear just four corners in the stage so this wakes us up quite well!  I have been taking it easy after that. I couldn’t get the confidence and the rhythm with the car this morning. We will see – we will try some changes to the car to suit the stages better.”

But he survived and as was mentioned in his assessment before the rally, the roads dried and he made continual changes.

“The roads are drying up quickly this afternoon so we had to make some adjustments to the suspension.  We have had some small problems with low fuel on the last stage but we are happy to get the car here.”

And in the end, it all ended well, with a well deserved third.

It proves that if he cannot raise the funds to return to a WRC2 drive, he has a future in the regional category.

And there is a chance that he could bring out a car that he competed on in the international stages, should both funding and the rule book allow it.

In the meantime, though, a Production spec Mitsubishi will do just fine.

“Of course the Mitsubishi is different to the RRC cars and the R5 cars that I have driven for a few years. It is good to be back in the ARPC.”

“There are no RRC or R5 cars in the APRC so we had to go back to the Evo 10.We have to keep driving this year as we don’t have the chance go to Europe.”

Aksa in his Ford Fiesta RRC at the 2014 WRC Rally Australia
Aksa in his Ford Fiesta RRC at the 2014 WRC Rally Australia

It is good to be back here. Going to New Zealand and Australia is the most important thing.”

Currently, this is the last time we will see him in Australia this year, not having any plans for a one-off appearance at WRC Rally Australia but in the mean time, we look forward to seeing him tackle the Asian rally stages.

“Our next rally will be Malaysia, close to our country. The type of road will be very similar to what we have back home. Hopefully we will have some advantage there.”

And we very much look forward to see how he progresses.

By Sam Tickell, June 2015

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