Dean Herridge, piloting his Subaru Rally Team China Impreza GRB, has had an encouraging start to the third round of the Chinese Rally Championship, the Changbai Mountain Rally, held on the China-North Korean border.
The event kicked off with a Super Special stage, run over a course constructed on a local soccer field, to the cheers of an enthusiastic crowd.
With series leader David Higgins missing this round, his replacement Fumio Nutahara made good use of his Mitsubishi Lancer EVO to post the fastest time, closely followed by Finn Juha Salo, and then Dean who could have taken an early lead if not for a final corner puncture.
“We could well have been the quickest of the lot. But the course cut-up pretty early and we sort of fell into a hole on the final corner. We all had to run on road tyres for this particular stage, and the tyre just rolled off the rim. So we limped over the finish line”, Dean explained after completing the stage.
Although Changbai Mountain is renowned for it’s scenic beauty, the rally won’t be using too many of its twisty mountain passes. Instead the stages will run over generally flat gravel roads at the base of the mountain, and are set the challenge the entire field.
“The roads have a mixture of everything really…high speed but very bumpy. It’s kind of like a mixture of some stages from Canberra, some from Queensland and some from WA. Tomorrow we’ve got three passes of two 30km stages, so it’s going to be a long, challenging day.”
Changbai Mountain – Unofficial Top 5 Results After Stage 1
Fumio Nutahara 1:06.0
Juha Salo 1:11.9
Dean Herridge 1:12.7
Tony Green 1:13.6
Liu Dong Cao 1:14.0
Fan Fan 1:14.0
Brian Green 1:14.9