In-form HK duo rally to the cause Down Under
HONG Kong mounts a two-pronged assault on the Australian Rally Championship which begins in Perth on Saturday and, on form, both cars could go close to finishing among their category's front-runners.
Michael Lieu stunned his rivals in the New Zealand Rally last month winning 17 of 36 special stages behind the wheel of his new Mitsubishi Lancer.
But for a brake fluid leak on the final day of the New Zealand event, which is a leg of the world championship, Lieu could have done even better.
Also flying the Hong Kong flag will be Walther Nahr behind the wheel of a Mitsubishi Galant VR4.
Nahr is no stranger to the gruelling 34-stage, 561-kilometre event, having taken part in the last five.
His best finish was in 1991 when he finished sixth in Group N and 21st overall against the best in the world.
Nahr and Lieu are again classified in Group N. Cars in this group, unlike their Group A counterparts, are standard production-run vehicles with only minor modifications.
The Australian Rally event is also a leg of the world championship and is certain to attract the top drivers, including champion Carlos Sainz and former champions Juha Kankkuen, Ari Vatanen and Didier Auriol.
Lieu, who has secured a factory-backed Subaru Vivio to drive in the 555 Hong Kong to Beijing Rally next month, must be rated an outstanding chance to improve on his third place in Group N in New Zealand.
He had only a handful of kilometres behind the wheel of the specially prepared $450,000 Lancer before the event but was leading the group for the first seven stages before a minor spin lost him valuable seconds.