With a convincing performance Yuya Sumiyama, driving a Team Cusco entered ŠKODA FABIA R5, opened up an additional chapter of one of the most successful seasons for ŠKODA Motorsport.
“Congratulations to Yuya Sumiyama, Takahiro Yasui and all at Team Cusco for continuing ŠKODA’s winning streak in the FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship,” says ŠKODA Motorsport boss Michal Hrabánek and adds: “This new success again shows the strength of our customer program.” Actually Team Cusco in itself is special amongst the ŠKODA customer teams worldwide – right now its ŠKODA FABIA R5 is the first and only imported ŠKODA to Japan. As a reward Team Cusco won the FIA Asia-Pacific Championship Teams Award 2018.
Winning the 2018 APRC driver title is Yuya Sumiyama’s biggest success so far. Competing in rallies since 2002, the now 42 years old is one of the most experienced drivers from Japan. He already won the APRC-integrated Asia Cup in 2012 and 2014. In 2004 he celebrated his debut in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) when he competed at Rally Japan, at that time part of the WRC calendar. Since 2008 Sumiyama is part of Team Cusco, driving a ŠKODA FABIA R5 for the first time full season during the 2018 APRC.
Having scored already four victories this season, Yuya Sumiyama started the final round of the FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (APRC), the China Rally Longyou, as the new champion. Nevertheless, he opened proceedings with the second fastest time in the first special stage. He was fastest of the APRC competitors ahead of the more powerful rally cars of the national Chinese Rally Championship’s own categories. But two stages later, the Team Cusco driver had to survive a heart-stopping moment: “I entered one corner a little bit too fast and hit something with the left rear side of my car,” Sumiyama confessed. His private entered ŠKODA FABIA R5 proved to be rock solid. And although the suspension was bent, he managed to return to service, where Team Cusco’s mechanics fixed the car. The time loss made him drop significantly in the general classification. But when his opponent for the APRC category win, New Zealand driver Mike Young, had to retire due to a broken engine, Sumiyama reached the finish line as APRC winner. On the podium in Longyou, the ŠKODA FABIA R5 driver, co-driver Takahiro Yasui and the whole Team Cusco were greeted by a cheering crowd, amongst them Dr. Ralf Hanschen, President ŠKODA China.
Final standings FIA APRC (after five rounds, one round cancelled)
1. Yuya Sumiyama (JPN), ŠKODA FABIA R5, 193 points
2. Fabio Frisiero (ITA), Peugeot 208 AP4, 79 points
3. Michael Young (NZL), Toyota Vitz AP4, 37 points
Final standings FIA APRC Cup for Manufacturers (after five rounds, one round cancelled)
1. ŠKODA, 193 points
2. Peugeot, 79 points
3. Subaru, 38 points
Number of the day: 7
ŠKODA won the seventh FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship manufacturer title in a row, the last four were achieved with the ŠKODA FABIA R5.
FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) – ŠKODA’s titles
2018 Sumiyama/Yasui (JPN/JPN) ŠKODA FABIA R5
2017 Gill/Prévot (IND/BEL) ŠKODA FABIA R5
2016 Gill/Macneall (IND/NZL) ŠKODA FABIA R5
2015 Tidemand/Axelsson (SWE/SWE) ŠKODA FABIA R5/ŠKODA FABIA S2000
2014 Kopecký/Dresler (CZE/CZE) ŠKODA FABIA S2000
2013 Gill/Macneall (IND/NZL) ŠKODA FABIA S2000
2012 Atkinson/ Prévot (NZL/BEL) ŠKODA FABIA S2000
Calendar of the 2018 FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (APRC)
Rally of Whangarei – New Zealand 05/05–06/05/2018
National Capital Rally Australia 02/06–03/06/2018
Malaysian Rally 21/07–22/07/2018
Rally Hokkaido – Japan 15/09–16/09/2018
China Rally 21/07–22/10/2018
Rally of India (cancelled) 01/12–02/12/2018