Mike Young getting set for APRC finale at Coffee Day India Rally 2017

Top New Zealand rally driver Mike Young, is preparing for the Coffee day India rally scheduled to be held in Chikmaglur, Karnataka between 24 – 26 November, 2017 as the final round of of the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC). Young will drive a Volkswagen Polo R2 in India with Malcolm Read in the co-driver seat. Backed by Dunlop tyres, the duo are confident of a good performance on the notoriously difficult stages running through the coffee plantation. 

“I am so excited to get behind the wheel of the Volkswagen in India, thanks to Volkswagen India and GT Tuner’s Benguluru. The Volkswagen is FIA R2 spec, so is a 1.6 litre car with a sequential gearbox and I think it will suit the narrow and twisty roads well,” said Young. “The roads are actually run in the coffee plantations along the narrow access roads. It’s quite mountainous and the average speed can be as low as 50 kilometres per hour. Plus add rock-lined banks and lots of trees, and you have a very tough environment but that’s why I think the nimble VW will be so good.”

The Polo R2 that the Kiwi duo will be driving this year
The Polo R2 that the Kiwi duo will be driving this year

After having driven four wheel drive turbo cars in the past, it will be interesting to see how Young deals with less powerful two wheel drive Polo. Both Young and Read enjoyed the buzz of the Indian event based in Chikmagalur last year and vowed to return this year after finishing second overall last year behind defending champion from team MRF tyres, Gaurav Gill. They had also won the Group N category in their Cusco Racing prepared four wheel drive Subaru Impreza.

“It is a very cool experience I must say. There is a crazy amount of spectators at every junction or spare piece of road. The first super special stage is a real highlight because thousands of people watch us fly around the Amber Valley School football field on a man-made track, which is very unique,” continued Young.

Mike Young & Malcolm Read were runners-up at last year’s Coffee Day Rally
Mike Young & Malcolm Read were runners-up at last year’s Coffee Day Rally

Co-driver Malcolm Read from Hamilton is also looking forward to the events with Young and said he’s excited to compete with Young again, especially in India.

“Mike and I haven’t had a lot of events together this year so I’m really looking forward to doing two rallies back to back. He’s a great driver so I’m sure he will adapt quickly to the front-drive Volkswagen and after our experience from last year I sure we can get another good result,” said Read.

The duo had done the Japan round in the APRC this year piloting a Toyota Vitz (Yaris) run by Cusco racing. Young and Read will be competing in another international event between 16 – 19 November, before coming to India at the Kennards Hire Rally Australia, final round of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) driving a Citroen DS3 R3. Mike Young and Malcolm Read arrive Bengaluru, India 20th November and will attend a press conference at Coffee Day HQ, Bengaluru on the 21st.

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