Jussi Valimaki wins Rally of Thailand, best Thai placed 8th

The Rally of Thailand was dominated by Finn, Jussi Valimaki.

Suphot Kasikham came home in eighth to be the highest placed Thai. Suphot was lucky to finish after his Impreza's rear brakes failed and then its gearbox got stuck in fourth gear on the penultimate stage.

APRC - Valimaki wins in Thailand (Source: Rally Planet)
Oct-23 2005 / 11:27 EDT

Jussi Valimaki completed his domination of this year’s Rally of Thailand by winning five of the six stages run in fine weather, today. At the post-event media conference a delighted Valimaki declared his win here to be the most satisfying of his Asia-Pacific Rally Championship campaign. The Finn stated that, after securing the 2005 Asia-Pacific title at the previous round, he had finally been able to challenge Toshi Arai without worrying about championship points.

Arai finished in second place after he drove another faultless rally. “We tried our best till the end, “ commented an obviously disappointed Arai. “With a better balance of technical and high speed stages in the itinerary we could have stood a better chance of winning.” Unluckily for Arai, changes to the route due to flooding two weeks ago had resulted in the loss of several of the more technical stages that better suit his Impreza.

Rounding out the top three was Malaysian, Kan Chee Hong in one of the Wan Yu Team Lancers from China. For veteran Kan the high-speed stages of Rayong had taken time getting used to. He had also been slowed by a persistent rear shock absorber problem. However, his pace and consistency had seen him steadily move up the leader board.

Leg 1 third placed driver, Xu Lang resumed his battle with Malaysian charger, Saladin Mazlan this morning. Their stage times were never more than a few seconds different until SS15. Unfortunately, the current Chinese National Champion paid the price for taking a big jump too quickly. The resulting rough landing damaged his front suspension, which promptly put Xu into a bank at the next corner. He managed to limp the badly damaged car into the Stop Control but was forced to retire when it’s engine refused to start. Mazlan therefore inherited fourth place, as Kan had overhauled both he and Xu, earlier.

Suphot Kasikham brought his Maxima Team Impreza home in eighth to be the highest placed Thai competitor. Suphot considered himself lucky to finish after first losing his car’s rear brakes and then having its gearbox stick in fourth gear on the penultimate stage.

Rally of Thailand concluded at the Star Hotel, Rayong with a lavish prize-giving dinner featuring traditional Thai entertainment.