Having fought their way to the top on the first day, things started going downhill for McRae and Hayes in the second day when their Neo S2000's engine began to misfire after a water crossing. Compounding their misery was a broken drive shaft which slowed them down considerably over the last 50km of the three special stages of the rally.
"With no service interval, we were forced to slow down and nurse the car to the finish. It was a tough event, one that presented us with a lot of challenges. McRae and I are obviously disappointed in not being able to secure a podium finish but considering the circumstances, finishing fourth at least sees us heading to the next APRC round with valuable championship points," said Hayes.
Teammate Chris Atkinson, meanwhile, had even more bad luck on his side with the nightmares of last year's misfortune continuing to haunt him and co-driver Stephane Prevot. After setting a blistering pace to lead the first two opening super special stages on Friday night and winning the first stage on Saturday morning, Atkinson's run was brought to an abrupt end due to electrical failure. His fortunes did not improve the next day, as electrical failure once again ended his race prematurely.
The CUSCO-tuned Proton Satria Neo 2WD cars had better luck, with multiple APRC champion Karamjit Singh and co-driver Vivek Ponnusamy finishing 1st in the 2WD category and ninth overall. Japanese driver Akira Bamba, also behind the wheel of a CUSCO-tuned Neo, was second in the 2WD category and eleventh overall, finishing 4.5 minutes behind the 'Flying Sikh'.
Next entry in the APRC's 2011 calendar is the Rally of New Caledonia, which will take place on 17 - 19 June 2011.
Pictures: Official Proton and Karamjit Motorsports release.
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