Crocker makes his­tory

The Weekend Post - Motoring - - Front Page -

WHILE most read­ers of this col­umn could rat­tle off the names of at least half a dozen V8 Su­per­car driv­ers, how many are fa­mil­iar with the name Cody Crocker?

Crocker, a three time Aus­tralian Rally Cham­pion has just cre­ated mo­tor sport his­tory, be­com­ing the first driver to win four Asia Pa­cific Rally Cham­pi­onship ti­tles.

In ex­treme weather con­di­tions, with tem­per­a­tures over 35C, the Vic­to­rian claimed his fourth straight cham­pi­onship af­ter dom­i­nat­ing the sixth round of the APRC, the Rally of In­done­sia. His fourth con­sec­u­tive cham­pi­onship sees him one ti­tle win ahead of a string of the world’s great­est rally driv­ers, in­clud­ing his Subaru men­tor the late Peter “Pos­sum” Bourne and Swe­den’s Kenneth Eriks­son, both of whom won three ti­tles. For­mer Aus­tralian Rally Cham­pion Ross Dunkerton, who now lives in Cairns, won in 1991-92 driv­ing a Mit­subishi Galant VR4. For­mer mul­ti­ple WRC and Dakar Rally Cham­pion Car­los Sainz also won the event. First con­ducted in 1988, the APRC com­prises rounds in Malaysia, Ja­pan, New Zealand, New Cale­do­nia, In­done­sia, China and here in Queens­land.

“I couldn’t be hap­pier. It’s an in­cred­i­ble feel­ing to win four APRC ti­tles and it makes all the ef­fort that Ben (co-driver), the team and I have put in this year worth­while. I’ve man­aged to tick ev­ery box in my ca­reer so far, just the WRC is the elu­sive one. If I can get some­thing in that then I’d be wrapped,” he said. Crocker’s co-driver Ben Atkin­son is the brother of Queens­land’s for­mer World Rally Cham­pi­onship Subaru Team driver, Chris Atkin­son.

RIC­CIA­RDO’S F1 TEST SES­SION

AF­TER a very suc­cess­ful three day test with Red Bull, Aus­tralia’s Daniel Ric­cia­rdo may be em­ployed as their re­serve driver. Red Bull Racing team boss Chris­tian Horner said the 20-year-old from Perth was a very promis­ing tal­ent and hinted that Ric­cia­rdo could be­come the team’s re­serve next sea­son for Se­bas­tian Vet­tel and Mark Web­ber, if they get in­jured or ill.

In Ric­cia­rdo’s F1 test ses­sion with Red Bull at the Jerez cir­cuit in Spain, the re­cently crowned UK For­mula 3 Cham­pion drove the most laps on day one and, de­spite an early spin, was third fastest of all the teams on track on day two, less than half a sec­ond off the pace.

A de­lighted Ric­cia­rdo said: “I didn’t stop smil­ing all day. As I ex­pected the team was re­ally good and let me do my own thing. Once I was comfortable we started work­ing try­ing to get up to speed”. Ric­cia­rdo also re­vealed he had some ad­vice from fel­low Aus­tralian Mark Web­ber. “He gave me a call last night just giv­ing me a bit of a heads up be­fore the test and let me know what to ex­pect,” he said. Ric­cia­rdo will be racing in the For­mula Re­nault 3.5 World Se­ries next year.

SYD­NEY’S OLYMPIC PARK HOTS UP

IN this week­end’s fi­nal round of the V8 Su­per­car Cham­pi­onship 888 Fal­con driver Jamie Whin­cup only needs to fin­ish 28th or bet­ter in ei­ther race to win back to back ti­tles.

The event is to be raced on the new Mark Skaife de­signed street cir­cuit at Syd­ney’s Olympic Park at Home­bush.

So as to book-end the sea­son with 500km events, the Syd­ney 400 has be­come the Syd­ney 500 – as is the open­ing round, the Clip­sal 500 in Ade­laide.

Teams will con­test two 250km races, one to­day and one to­mor­row. In a turn­around from the pal­try crowds which used to at­tend Syd­ney’s V8 Su­per­car round at East­ern Creek Race­way, the pre­dicted 150,000 strong crowd is al­most cer­tain to be eclipsed. Aus­tralian rock band Cold Chisel, with Jimmy Barnes out front will come out of re­tire­ment and pro­vide the evening en­ter­tain­ment.

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