The 5th round of 2007 China Rally Championship, which is also the 7th round of 2007 Asia-Pacific Rally Championship, took place in Longyou of Zhejiang Province from Nov.9-11. SRTC entered all of its 3 drivers – Dean Herridge, Michael Lieu and Li Wei and three 06MY WRX STI Spec C.
The stages are located at mountains of Longyou County. There are totally 16 gravel special stages with a total length of 223.37km, while SS1 is Super Special Stage.
In order to prepare this rally, SRTC specially arranged one test at end Sept. in Shenzhen. Also, we required to Yokohama to provide its latest model of gravel rally tyre to be ready before rally. The test resulted good. Also,our mechanics worked days and nights to finish rebuilding and setting the accidental cars of Michael and Li Wei, and made them finished before the rally.
All team technicians arrived at Longyou on Oct.31st to prepare cars and parts, and ECU setting was done on Nov.3rd-4th by our ECU engineer. Nov.6th afternoon was team’s pre-event testing day. It took place at last year’s Chencun Stage. All three cars finished the testing of suspension and tyre, and crews were all satisfied with it.
There were 9 SS this day. Dean started the day with a storming attack to other competitors. He won SS2 by 8:11.6, 2.9 seconds faster than who was behind him, and 10.3 seconds faster than Cody Croker.
Soon, Dean made another stage win. He finished SS3 by 20:48.1, 7.8 seconds faster than the one behind him, while took Cody Croker by 18.7 seconds. Although Xu Lang of Wuming Team won SS4, at the time of the second service of the day, Dean was already leading the rally overall.
Michael and Li Wei finished the first 3 special stages without any mistake or accidents, while Michael placed top8 of CRC and Li Wei top 15.
Unfortunately, Dean stopped his leading in SS5 by gearbox problem. It’s a really big loss to the team. He finally retired the race of Leg 1.
However, Michael and Li Wei were still in stages. After half day, Michael already moved up to 6th overall in CRC and Li Wei 11th . But bad news came again that Michael hurt his right hand in SS8 by steering wheel, which made him lost the power to hold the wheel. Anyhow, he did’t stop, but cooperate with his co-driver to finish the rest 2 stages of Leg 1. Michael was sent to Hospital soon after he returned to service park. The good news was his bone was not hurt, but it had to be decided if he enter Leg 2 or not.
Till end of Leg 1, Dean won two out of the first 4 stages before retire. Michael was placed 6th in CRC and 3rd in domestic driver group. Li Wei was the only survivor of the team. He finished 12th overall, 9th in CRC and 6th in domestic drivers.
By the way, only 2 APRC drivers – Cody Croker and Brian Green remained on road at the end of Leg 1.
With the passion for rally, Dean finally decide to do super rally in Leg 2, while Michael decided to retire because of the hurt of hand.
SS11, 13 and 15 were extremely twisting uphill roads while SS 12,14 and 16 were moving downhill.
Dean got a puncture in SS11 which lost about 1 minute. And Li Wei finished the stage 9th. Presently, Dean was 11th in Leg 2, 48.6 seconds behind the leader Higgins and 25.6 seconds behind Salo of GiTi Team, and Li Wei was 9th overall and 6th domestically.
SS12, Salo of GiTi team won the stage, took 10.4 seconds from Dean who finished stage second.
SS13, Dean fought back and won by 13.2 seconds faster than Higgins of Lancer team and 22.9 seconds than Salo.
Although Salo took another 10.7 seconds from Dean in SS14, Dean took the time back by 20 seconds from Salo and 24.6 seconds from Higgins in SS15. Untill now, Dean was already 2nd place in Leg 2, 3 seconds behind leg leader Salo and only one stage to go.
SS16, Dean gave another storming finish win and took 7.1 seconds from Salo, and finally won Leg 2. Li Wei competed stably and move up step by step. Finally, he moved up to 6th overall in CRC from 9th position, and 3rd domestically from 6th .
Till the end of Leg 2, SRTC ace driver Dean Herridge won 5 stages out of 16, and 3 times 2nd fastest in stages. Although he retired mid-way, he won Leg 2 after super rally, which secured the 3rd position for SRTC in 2007 CRC yearly team’s title. Li Wei also kept moving up step and step, and he made it by finishing 6th overall in CRC and 3rd in domestic driver’s title from 16th at the every beginning.
2007 China Rally Championship ended together with the finish of APRC Longyou Rally. Subaru Rally Team China entered all 5 events of the CRC. Especially after the change of team formation in Beijing rally, and also with the even greater Subaru China, we were becoming bigger and stronger than ever before. New Ace driver Dean Herridge finished 5th in Beijing, 3rd in Liupanshui and 2nd in Kaiyang, as well as SRTC won twice 3rd position in team’s title and finally secured yearly team’s 3rd position in 2007 CRC. Michael Lieu also got several CRC top eight position to win points for the team and himself. He finally obtained the 8th position of 2007 CRC yearly driver’s title. It’s a big year for Li Wei to study. He experienced different top co-drivers in each event that made him more clear about what kind of co-driver will best suit him. Li Wei didn’t get quite good result in previous events this year, but he got all them back in the finally round, which also placed him at 7th position of 2007 CRC yearly driver’s title.
Although we didn’t win in Last rally, we already showed our rivals the capability to win, and made them feel great pressure.