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Published on October 29th, 2010 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez



Katsu Taguchi gave himself a huge psychological lift after an impressive performance in the opening stage of the Round 3 of the Malaysian Rally at Lake Kenyir in Kuala Terengganu on Friday. The Japanese ace, a former participant at the World Rally Championship, took his Mitsubishi Lancer, to a heartwarming win in the opening stage today, completing the 4.16km race time trial, to give himself and co-driver Jagdev Singh, a shot at the overall title.They are lying fourth overall after the completion of the earlier two rounds – Johor Bharu in April and Jempol in July- and today’s win will give them a boost as they prepare for the next two stages over the rugged terrain of the interior of Lake Kenyir, covering a total distance of 140km on Saturday and Sunday.

Taguchi, winner of the opening round in Johor Bharu back in April, completed the time trial race over the 4.16km route around the tarmac road surrounding the lake, in a total time of 3mins 01.3secs.They were so fast across the tarmac road that the rest of the 21-car field just could not cope. Karamjit Singh and his partner Douglas Pickering, also in a Mitsubishi Lancer came in second fastest on a total of 3mins 12.9secs, a good 11 seconds behind and plenty of catching up to do.Third in the opening stage on Friday is the Japanese pair of Takeshi Azuma and Masako Sakane in a Subaru Impreza in a time of 3mins 25.5secs while Lohitt Urs and Manohar Menon, the Indian and Malaysian combination also in a Subaru Impreza came in fourth in 3mins 26.2secs.
Muhammad Udhaya Rafiq, the overall leader who lead the series on a total of 24 points, came home in a disappointing ninth yesterday in his Subaru Impreza and he knows he now has to tackle the terrains to make up for his lack of success today.

“The real test will come on Saturday and Sunday. A test for the car and the drivers because none of us has ever raced here (Lake Kenyir) before. It will be interesting,” said Muhammad Udhaya who is racing under the MRU Motorsports banner. Karamjit, who is lying second overall on 16 points, is also hoping for a little luck tomorrow as he makes a bid to consolidate his position before the fourth and final leg in Kangar in mid December. “It’s important that your car hold up well in rallying. Of course I am determined to do well. But I need to keep my fingers crossed too hoping nothing goes wrong with the car,” said Karamjit.

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