The 27th Asia Cross Country Rally, the toughest rally in Asia, is back with a 1700+ km track, starting from Thailand to the finish line in Cambodia this November 21-26.

Leg 2

Leg 2 (SS3) features straight flat dirt over 100km/h high speed range Two STRADAs keep the top class overall with Chayapon Yotha as 1st place.

Special stage 3 (SS3) for Leg 2 began in Bankruat, a district close to the Cambodian border south from Buriram. From Team Mitsubishi Ralliart, Chayapon Yotha in car #105 STRADA who had finished 1st in SS2 started in 1st position, with Rifat Sungkar (Indonesia) in car #118 starting in 8th.

The goal of SS3 is in Nongbon, the same location as SS2. The stage covered a total distance of 157.45 km, with mostly straight flat dirt over 100km/h high speed range, as well as gravel and tarmac roads. Chayapon, who had become 1st overall by topping SS2 the previous day, drove steadily with careful line-taking throughout the SS3, despite the power gap with his rivals on the high-speed straight sections where vehicles with larger displacement have an advantage. He finished SS3 in 7th place with an official time of 1:49:04 and maintained his top position in the overall standings.

Car #118 suffered severe damage from the punctured right rear tire the day before, but it was fully repaired before the SS3 thanks to the hard work of the team mechanics. Rifat concentrated on driving carefully to avoid damage for the stages ahead. By the time he passed the checkpoint, Rifat had overtook four cars and advanced steadily, finishing SS3 in 4th place with an official time of 1:47:59. The time difference with car #101 Isuzu D-MAX, the top runner of SS3, was 2 min 41 sec. Overall ranking of Rifat rose from 8th to 5th place, with further advancement to higher positions possible.

"It was a very stable race today," said team director Hiroshi Masuoka. "Chayapon was able to maintain his overall lead, and Rifat, who was delayed yesterday due to a flat tire, has improved his overall ranking. Team Mitsubishi Ralliart is having an ideal battle. Rifat is still in a good position to challenge for the lead, and both of them are performing well and calmly, so I am really looking forward to the upcoming stages."

With an overall time advantage of 7 min 46 sec between Chayapon and car #116 Toyota Fortuner, the drivers will be keeping their concentration for SS4 tomorrow.