Katsu Taguchi wins Rally Hokkaido

Japanese driver Katsu Taguchi has taken out Rally Hokkaido, round two of the Asia Pacific Rally Championship, in Japan today.

After starting the day 27.8 seconds behind APRC leader Gaurav Gill, the 38-year old Yokohama born Taguchi closed the gap on the rally leader during the opening two forest stages before moving to the top of the timesheets after the 10.78km Honbetsu stage.

From that point Taguchi and his co-driver, Australian Chris Murphy, never looked back as they went on to claim their second victory of 2010 aboard their MRF Tyres Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X.

An issue on the fourth stage of the day cost Gill and co-driver Glenn Macneall almost two minutes, allowing Hiroshi Yanagisawa to claim the runner-up spot behind Taguchi.

After encountering engine trouble yesterday, Australian Chris Atkinson returned to the rally under SuperRally regulations today and showed glimpses of promise aboard his Proton.

Driving for the PROTON R3 Rally Team, Atkinson and team-mate Alister McRae set some respectable times inside the top five before the Gold Coaster stopped on the road section after the final forest stage of the event.

“It was good to get back out there today and have the opportunity to gather more data and learn more about the car,” said Atkinson.

“The Super 2000 specification car is very different to drive to a World Rally car and I’m still getting my head around it while we’re continually developing the car from a set-up and engine point of view.

“Just like the opening round in Malaysia, we learnt a lot across the rally and have now got a heap of information to use as a base on improving the car.”

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