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MRF WINS IN JAPAN, AGAIN

 In the News...
Finland Drivers Join MRF-APRC
MRF Finishes Second in
New Zealand Rally
MRF wins Thailand Rally
Taguchi of MRF wins in China
Winning start by Team MRF in Australia
After Australia, Team MRF Wins in New Caledonia

A combination of brain and brawn dictated the results in the Rally Hokkaido, the third round of the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship, on September 12-14. For Team MRF Tyres, it was a few anxious moments spent before Armin Kremer and co-driver Fred Berssen of Germany delivered a first place finish in Group N (unmodified) and second overall behind Geof Argyle (cod river Steve Smith) of New Zealand who were in a Group A (modified) car. Last year, Stuart Warren, along with co-driver J.Judd had won the Group N category for Team MRF in the Hokkaido Rally 2002,Japan. The conditions for the event were made extremely difficult and tricky that put premium more on caution than aggression. The pull out of Doppelreiter in the final stages due to gearbox problems meant that Team MRF looked to Kremer to bring home the honours. And typically, the German champion did not let his mates down.

As in Canberra, where Kremer won the overall crown, and Rotorua, he paced himself well and kept his composure even as favourite Fumio Nutahara, the Japanese ace, set scorching pace to jump into a handsome lead until a broken suspension on Day Two ruled him out of contention. Right through, Kremer, driving a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 7, kept his focus on finishing the event with the conditions marred by a mix of rains, fog and bright sunshine. The terrain, rendered slushy, made it difficult to keep the vehicle on the track. Under the circumstances, Kremer performed well to keep himself in the reckoning. As in the previous rounds, the specially developed MRF tyres played a major role in helping Kremer through the tricky route as he fought hard to catch up with Argyle.

New dirt tyres were developed for this rally, based on MRF's experience last year in Japan. Eighty tyres were specially made and shipped to Obihro last month. Both Armin and David tested these tyres in an exclusive area prior to the event. "It was going to be tough catching Argyle," said Kremer after the Rally. "We tried our best with whatever we could and I am happy that we are going back from Japan with a good haul of points which is crucial at this juncture of the season."

 With two more rounds remaining - Thailand and India - Kremer has a good chance to finish at the top of the pack. The three-day event witnessed a high rate of attrition among the record 62 entries, beginning with the early retirements of last year's APRC winner Karamjit Singh of Malaysia and the 2002 Group N champion Nico Caldarola of Italy.

The Results (after Round 3)
Race Summary
Name Team Timings
Geoff Argyle Racetech 3h 04m 02.3s
Armin Kremer Team MRF Tyres 3h 05m 51.6s
Chris Atkinson Suzuki 3h 13m 41.2s
A Masumura Mitsubishi 3h 24m 13.4s
Brain Green Mitsubishi -
Andrew Hawkeswood Mitsubishi -
Points standings : Group N(After Round 3 of 5)
Name Standings
Argyle 34
Nutahara 32
Kremer 31
Overall standings
Name Standings
Kremer 47
Nutahara 40
Masumura 19
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