The fourth round of 2007 China Rally Championship took place on Aug.4th in Kaiyang county of Guizhou province. As 3rd driver Michael Lieu’s car is not able to be repaired after last accident in Liupanshui in such a short time, Subaru Rally Team China only entered Dean Herridge and Li Wei.
The stages are located at suburbs of Kaiyang county with beautiful signs. There are totally 9 gravel special stages with a total length of 143.36km.
In order to let rally cars be at the best status, to let drivers be more familiar with their cars and find out problems, SRTC specially arranged three days pre-rally test. We chose two different roads and used both morning and afternoon time to test, so as to let drivers get used to different feeling of cars on different roads and in different time, as well as to better test the new Yokohama tyre and Tein dampers. The transmission of Dean’s car and turbo of Li Wei’s car all happened some problems, and team technicians solved them in time. So the test this time was successful and very important, it made it’s possible for team techanicians to solve as many problems as possible before the rally.
SS1 took place on the first day at Jero park. The road was mixed with gravel and concrete. The race was held with two cars compete in one group as super special stage. SRTC well prepared for the opening stage. We left key technicians to follow rally cars from ceremony to P/F in, in order to guarantee the cars had no problems. Dean competed with Car No.12, British David Higgins. Dean chose gravel tyres while David tarmac ones, so Dean finished the stage 3 seconds behind David, and finally placed 3rd, 0.3 second behind car No.10, British Martin Rowe. Li Wei competed with KST team driver Liu Caodong, and finished 2 seconds behind, finally placed 9th overall.
SS2 to SS5 were held on the second day. As KST team chose wrong type Michelin tyres, Martin found it’s hard to get good feeling of the car, and started to lost time from SS2. David and Dean started with big gaps from the cars behind, and were leading the rally. At the end of the second day, Dean finished second with 40 second behind David, while gained nearly 1 minute advantage from Liu Caodong and 2 minutes from Martin. Li Wei was co-drived by Hakaru Ichino, and learned a lot from him. He made a stable start, and kept moving up. He finished the day with 11th overall and 8th nationally.
Dean got his first stage win on the opening stage of Leg 2, and then obtained a second one on SS8. However, as the gap between he and David was too big, team decided to let him keep the current pace to stably finish the rally. Dean well implemented the team order and finally finished the rally second overall. Li Wei met some mechanical problems on his car, and could not make fast paces on the stage. He finally finished the rally safely with the position of 11th overall and 7th nationally.
Dean gained 12 points for the team this round, and SRTC is now at the third position with 28 points.