Rifat Sungkar Drove Japanese Tarmac SS In Satria Neo!
Round 8 and the final round of 2011 Japanese Rally Championship “Shinshiro Rally” was held from 21-23 October around Shinshiro city, Aichi-prefecture, approximately 280km west from Tokyo. On the rally, total 64.22km, 12 tarmac stages were consisted. Cusco Racing brought CUSCO ADVAN EVO. X driven by Hiroshi Yanagisawa who recently marked his first ever overall victory in the series at previous round, Rally Hokkaido with his co-driver, Yoshimasa Nakahara. Also FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) contender and Pertamina CUSCO Racing’s driver, Indonesian Rifat Sungkar attended this national round in Japan with Group N spec PROTON Satria Neo occasionally. For Sungkar, usually driving Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X at APRC round, it was first ever experience to competing proper tarmac rally. For this opportunity, Cusco Racing’s driver Yuya Sumiyama’s regular co-driver, Naoki Kase was teamed up with the 8 times Indonesian champion.
This is not only an outstanding tarmac rally of the series, but also really popular event among spectators with so many activities available over the weekend, which has been rated high from drivers as well. However, unfortunately, the rally area saw autumn rain from before the start. The first day of the competition also had full wet condition that led number of accidents. Yanagisawa also couldn’t avoid drama and became the victim of the condition when he lost his rhythm on the left corner on SS2 and his machine hit to the lock heavily. Fortunately both crew weren’t injured, however their machine was too damaged and withdrawn from the event.
Sungkar, who was trying on his first tarmac rally in wet condition with unfamiliar machine, also was off the course on SS3. Nevertheless his machine had no serious damage which arrowed him to restart on second day. Attending foreign driver in Japanese championship was relatively rare in its tradition, and as holding Indonesian license, Sungkar was unable to obtain any championship point on this event. However welcoming top contender of FIA series from overseas to national round was exactly epoch-making for the nation. As Cusco built PROTON Satria Neo had been showing superb potential through its debut season in the country, driving Japanese stages by top APRC contender from Indonesia brought a number of Japanese spectators to their feet.