Alister McRae and co-driver Bill Hayes fended off a series of misfortunes on the third and final day of the Rally of Queensland to salvage a fourth place finish for the factory Proton team. McRae was leading the pack after Leg 1, but mechanical problems means that the Scot is still waiting for his first APRC win.

Starting the day with an eight second advantage over Mitsubishi’s Gaurav Gill, earned after winning three stages on Leg 1, McRae lost the lead when his Satria Neo S2000’s engine began misfiring after a water crossing in one of the day’s seven special stages.

The fightback was dealt a serious blow when he was forced to slow down as a result of a broken drive shaft over 50 km of the last three SS of the rally. No service interval, so they had to nurse the car home.

Despite this disaster, McRae managed to hang on to fourth ahead of a charging Rifat Sungkar, the Indonesian competing in a Mitsubishi Evo 10.

McRae’s teammate Chris Atkinson was hoping for a successful home rally, but it was not to be. 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, his run came to an abrupt end on the next stage due to an electrical failure. Rejoining the final day of the rally, the Aussie endured a second electrical failure which truly ended his rally.

This second round of the Asia Pacific Rally Championship was won by British driver Mark Higgins, who finished 16 seconds ahead of Gaurav Gill. Japanese driver Katsuhiko Taguchi was third. Interestingly, Higgins is a three-time British Rally Champion and a stunt driver in the James Bond film Quantum of Solace. With Welsh co-driver Ieuan Thomas, this was his first APRC rally.

The Cusco tuned Neos did better in the 2WD category. Karamjit Singh led a category 1-2 ahead of fellow Neo driver Akira Bamba. They finished 9th and 11th overall in the rally.