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 3

SS4 features high-speed flat dirt road with large puddles from heavy rain
Chayapon Yotha keeps 1st place overall
Rifat Sungkar climbs one place to 4th overall

Special stage 4 (SS4) for Leg 3 began in Khu Mueang, located east of Buriram Airport in northeastern Thailand, and the main course was a flat dirt road in the middle of vast rubber plantations. The cars started in the order of the results of SS3 held the day before. From Team Mitsubishi RALLIART, Rifat Sungkar (Indonesia) in car #118 TRITON started 4th and Chayapon Yotha (Thailand) in car #105 started in the 7th position.
SS4 consisted of two laps of 70 km course mainly comprised of high-speed flat dirt as well as mud, gravel and tarmac roads. The dirt surface was muddy in places due to the heavy rain the night before, which had created large puddles over 50 cm deep. This stage required both drivers and rally cars to be flexible in dealing with varying road conditions.

Chayapon in car #105, who had maintained his overall lead position with his stable driving in SS3 on the previous day, showed calm and precise judgment to avoid large puddles and prevent damages to his car. He finished 6th in SS4 with an official time of 2:00:17, maintaining his overall lead. The time gap to the 2nd place overall finisher, car #102 Toyota Hilux Revo, is 7 min 46 sec, and to the 3rd place overall finisher, car #116 Toyota Fortuner, is 9 min 54 sec.

Rifat in car #118, who had been steadily improving his overall ranking, continued to focus on driving carefully to avoid damaging the car. When it was time to push harder, he showed his aggressive driving and finished 5th in SS4 while marking an official time of 1:59:43. He moved up one position to 4th overall, and the time gap is 3 min 49 sec to the 3rd place overall finisher, car #116.

"Chayapon maintained his overall lead today, and Rifat raised his overall ranking, so we were able to cross the midway point of the rally in good form,” said team director Hiroshi Masuoka. “The road conditions changed from moment to moment in today’s stage, but the strength of TRITON’s all-wheel control technology and off-road drivability have given us a good result. Tomorrow's stage was changed at the last minute and will be held over the first 80 km of yesterday's SS3. Chayapon has an overall time advantage of more than 7 minutes over the rivals, so he will focus on reaching the goal without pushing too hard. Rifat has shown a good performance today and raised his position, so I hope he will continue to give his best to reach the finish line tomorrow."

LEG4/SS5 was originally scheduled to be a 90 km plus stage near the border with Cambodia, but the course was changed at the last minute and will be held at an 80 km course from the starting point of SS3. The overall leader, Chayapon, has a time advantage of over 7 minutes and is required to reach the goal carefully. On the other hand, car #108 is only 2 seconds behind Rifat in car #118, so the rival is expected to be charging hard to overtake him in tomorrow's stage.