Subhan Aksa started well in his comeback onto the world stage by finishing seventh in Rally of Argentina’s Production World Rally Championship event on Sunday.
Subhan and co-driver Hade Mboi finished all 19 special stages of the four-day race in six hours, 47 minutes and 44.9 seconds, almost 36 seconds behind winner Benito Guerra of Mexico but enough to give the Indonesian team six points.
“We scored points in our debut this season. That gives us confidence to try and catch up with the others in the next round,” Subhan said in a statement on Monday.
Starting the last day of the race in sixth place, the Bosowa Rally Team driver tried to play it safe in order to secure their first points of the championship, but host driver Ezequiel Campos of the CRS team made it difficult for Subhan to stick to that strategy.
Campos pressured Subhan from the beginning, cutting more than 3 minutes off of his deficit. By the end of the day, Campos had climbed into sixth place with 9.9-second advantage over Subhan.
“We didn’t want to push it,” Subhan said. “Our main goal was to score points. Thank God we finished the race and got the points. This was the best we could do.”
Subhan, a two-time Indonesian rally champion, has his second shot of racing on the world stage after racing in four World Rally Championships series and two PWRC series in 2008.
PWRC, introduced in 2002, is a companion rally series to the WRC but is limited to near-showroom spec four-wheel drive, turbocharged cars.
The race series will continue with the Acropolis Rally in Greece on May 27-29.
Meanwhile, champion Sebastian Loeb won the Rally of Argentina WRC for the seventh year in a row to increase his lead in this season’s standings.
The Frenchman finished 15.2 seconds ahead of teammate Mikko Hirvonen to give Citroen a 1-2 finish. Mads Ostberg was third.
Loeb has won three of the season’s first five rallies — Monte Carlo, Mexico and Argentina — for 91 points.
Additional reporting by Associated Press