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MRF FINISHES SECOND IN NEW ZEALAND RALLY

 In the News...
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In Round two of the APRC (Asia Pacific Rally Championship), in the Hella Battery Town Rally of Rotorua, New Zealand between 11-13 July, 2003, Team MRF finished second in Group N (unmodified) class, through their German ace, Armin Kremer, the 2001 European champion, and his co-driver and compatriot, Fred Berssen. He was also fourth in the overall category. Playing a significant role in Team MRF's success was the new breed of asymmetric tyres with low-pitch length, and lesser tread width in size 205/65R15, code-named ZDM3. Kremer was first to attribute his string of good performances to these specially developed dirt tyres that he said were comparable to the best in the world. These tyres were specially designed for the twisty roads of the Rotorua rally.

Helping Kremer's cause was the grip that the new dirt tyres afforded. Kremer's team-mates, David Doppelreiter of Austria and co-driver Ola Floene of Norway, gave strong indications of settling down to the daunting task of driving on dirt and broken tarmac surfaces, something they are unfamiliar to back home. The two finished Overall sixth and fourth in Group N, while improving steadily over the three days of the event. Kremer suffered initially from suspension problems that cost him much time on day one and midway through the next day. But once he reverted to his old struts, the difference was noticeable. He went quicker as the Rally headed to its climax. On some stages, Kremer was faster than the likes of Japan's Fumio Nutahara, reigning APRC champion Karamjit Singh of Malaysia, and last year's Group N winner Domenico Caldarola of Italy.

Considering that it was Kremer's first taste of Rotorua terrain, made famous by the awesome Maori Special Stages, the German's driving skills coupled with the newly developed dirt tyres was worthy of the highest acclaim. Similarly, for Doppelreiter, the former Austrian snowboard champion, it was a learning experience. He came up with some quick time in the closing stages of the event to make his presence felt. The Rally would be long remembered for the amazing tie in penalty timings involving Nutahara and Karamjit. Both finished the 22 Special Stages on par, with a time of 3 hours, 22.9 seconds. The championship went in favour of Nutahara on the count back rule.

The Results (Round 2)
Overall Standings
Name Team Timings
Fumio Nutahara/Satoshi Advan PIAA RT 3h, 00m, 22.9s
HayashiKaramjit Singh/Allen Oh Petronas Eon Racing 3h, 00m, 22.9s
Andrew Hawkeswood/Paul Fallon Mitsubishi 3h, 00m, 44.4s
Armin Kremer/Fred Berssen MRF Tyres 3h, 02m, 57.8s
Domenico Caldarola/Paolo Cecchini - 3h, 05m, 07.4s
David Doppelreiter/Ola Floene MRF Tyres 3h, 06m, 10.9s
Brian Green/ Fleur Pedersen Mitsubishi 3h, 15m, 24.2s
Atsushi Masumura/Yuichi Sasaki Mitsubishi 3h, 17m, 59.7s
Geof Argyle/Steve Smith Racetech 3h, 18m, 04.5s
Points standings : Group A (modified)
Name Standings
Singh/Oh 1
Hawkeswood/Fallon 2
Green/Pederssen 3
Points standings : Group N (unmodified)
Name Standings
Nutahara/Hayashi 1
Kremer/Berssen 2
Caldarola/Cecchini 3
Overall Standings
Name Team Standings
Fumio Nutahara Advan PIAA RT 26
Armin Kremer MRF Tyres 21
Geof Argyle Racetech 19
Karamjit Singh Petronas Eon Racing 13
Andrew Hawkeswood Force Motorsports 10
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