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Crocker makes it three straight titles for Subaru

Canberra, April 24, 2005

Crocker makes it three straight national titles for Subaru

Subaru Rally Team Australia has stretched its hold on the Subaru Rally of Canberra title to three years, with Cody Crocker winning the 2005 title in the nation’s capital today.

Crocker won this event in 2003 with team mate Dean Herridge taking the honours last year. However today, Herridge was forced to settle for second place, finishing 28.9 seconds behind Crocker.

Subaru took a clean sweep of the podium, with Juha Kangas, driving for Les Walkden Rallying, taking third place two minutes 12.5 seconds off the pace. Another Subaru, driven by Japan’s Toshi Arai , was in fourth place, just 1.8 seconds further back.

Subaru also took the maximum points in their quest for a sixth straight ARC Manufacturers’ title and it as also the first time that Crocker and Herridge have finished one, two at an event.

Herridge went into the day 15.1 seconds behind Crocker, after his time was adjusted last night when officials corrected the time allocated to him on SS8, the Super Special Stage at Fairburn Park.

But the West Australian came out attacking on the opening stages of Leg Two, and after the first three had reduced Crocker’s buffer to 4.6 seconds.

The cars finished the group of five stages in the Kowen Forest. Crocker has long shown a liking for these stages and he returned to the service park with a 10.3 second advantage.

Herridge and co-driver Bill Hayes had experienced their own problems on the fourth and fifth stages of the day and returned to the service park to watch their crew change their gearbox within the allocated 20 minutes service time.

The cars then completed a single run over the 1.82 kilometre Super Special Stage and returned for a ten-minute service. Herridge’s team was told that the rules precluded a tyre change, and because they had not changed the tyres used on the opening five stages at the earlier service, he was forced to go out and drive the final four stages and 60.61 kilometres on the same set. By day’s end, the one combination of Pirellis had done 129.73 kilometres.

Crocker drew away over the final stages and Herridge had to settle for second place.

Crocker, along with co-driver Dale Moscatt, took the Group N title in New Zealand a fortnight ago and the pair was delighted to notch up their second win in a row.

“This is a perfect start to a season that is all about defending our Australian Rally Championship driver’s title and the manufacturers’ for Subaru,” Crocker said.

“If this can happen all year I’ll be a very happy man.”

“I felt really comfortable in the car all weekend. This afternoon I drove every stage with the same approach and the good times just kept on coming. I never had to try and do something extra, it just all flowed. When you get the right combination of car set-up and tyres it gives you amazing confidence.”

Herridge was philosophical at the end of his day.

“I leave here knowing that Bill and I are working well and that we are fast, Herridge said.

“It is still a really good result for us and it is a great outcome for the team.”

“Last year I won in New Zealand and Canberra, and Cody won the Championship. Now he’s won those first two events so maybe it is my time to win the Australian Championship,” he quipped.

The first round of the Globalstar Australian Rally Championship, Quit Forest Rally, will be held from May 13-15 in Busselton.

Subaru Rally of Canberra witnessed the successful launch of Subaru Rally Radio, available only at www.rally.subaru.com.au, and the service will continue at the next six national events.

Monday, April 25, sees the debut of The Rally Hour, which will be live every Monday night at 8pm across the season.

Results – Subaru Rally of Canberra – Sunday April 24, 2005 (Provisional)

1 C Crocker (AUS)/D Moscatt (AUS) Subaru Impreza WRX STi 2:55:41.9
2 D Herridge (AUS)/B Hayes (AUS) Subaru Impreza WRX STi 2:56:10.8 +28.9secs
3 J Kangas (FIN) /J Rabbett (GB) Subaru Impreza WRX STi 2:57:54.4 +2:12.5
4 T Arai (J)/T Sircombe (NZ) Subaru Impreza WRX STi 2:57:56.2 +2:14.3
5 J Valimaki (FIN)/ J Kalliolepo (FIN) Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 8 2:58:15.0 +2:33.1
6 S Pedder (AUS)/G Weston (AUS) Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 8 3:02:08.0 +6:26.1
7 G Argyle (NZ)/J Sinclair (NZ) Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 8 1:30:23.7 +6:50.1

Visit www.rally.subaru.com.au for full details on Subaru Rally Team Australia, including news releases, audio grabs and biographies.

ENDS

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