The recent Rally Hokkaido in Japan delivered success and drama for the two New Zealand drivers, experienced Brian Green and teenager Michael Young, who contested the 2012 FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship event.
Palmerston North's Brian Green, with his long-time co-driver Fleur Pedersen of Havelock North alongside, came through the challenging two-day event third among the APRC-registered competitors behind Japanese driver Yuya Sumiyama and New Caledonian Daniel Palau.
After Rally Hokkaido, which ran last weekend around the city of Obihiro on Hokkaido island in northern Japan, Green is now second overall in the APRC standings behind Australian Chris Atkinson who was busy at Wales Rally GB in a Mini and didn't contest the Japanese event for his APRC team, MRF Skoda.
In the APRC Junior Cup field, Young, from Opotiki, with his Tasmanian co-driver Daniel Willson started well, but crashed out of the event on the first day.
At least four other competitors were caught out on the same slippery corner and all ended up in the same ditch, with Young's Proton rolling forward on to its roof on top of the other cars.
Green and Pedersen had their own challenges getting to the end of the notoriously rough event. A puncture on the first day took over eight minutes to fix after their MRU Motorsports-prepared Subaru Impreza WRX fell off the jack twice.
"Then the jack broke, and we were very lucky to even get the spare wheel on," said Pedersen.
With 94 championship points to Atkinson's 126, Green has every chance to win the APRC title at the final round in China late in October. He said: "Earlier in the rally I thought it was all over, but we managed to get back to third of the APRC-registered drivers and second in the points. We had a good run on Sunday, it was very, very rough and very corrugated which you expect here when you have multiple passes of stages.
The final round of the APRC Championship for Green is Rally China held on October 26-28.