Launceston local Steve Glenney has taken an early lead at this weekend’s Subaru Rally Tasmania after a hugely popular Inveresk Super Special Stage.
Glenney was fastest around the 820-metre bitumen course in his Contel Communications Subaru WRX STi, 0.9 seconds clear of closest rival Harry Bates in the Toyota Genuine Parts Toyota Yaris AP4.
Current CAMS Australian Rally Championship leader, Tankformers’ Eli Evans, was third fastest in the Skoda Fabia R5, 1.6 seconds behind Glenney, followed by fellow Skoda pilot Adrian Coppin. Neal Bates Motorsport’s Lewis Bates was fifth fastest in the Toyota Corolla S2000.
In the Dunlop-Motul Tasmanian Rally Championship field, Timothy Auty was quickest in the Mazda 323 GTR, followed by Andrew Morris in the Mazda RX7 and Nic Grave in his Subaru Impreza RS.
Launceston locals flocked to see the 35-strong field blast around The Roundhouse and enjoyed mingling with Australia’s best rally crews before The Examiner Ceremonial Start got the event officially underway.
The event proper starts tomorrow morning, with Saturday’s heat testing competitors on the fast and flowing roads in the Diddleum Plains area before seeing them tackle the slow, tight and technical sections in the Sideling Range and Lisle State Forest.
On Sunday, competition will move to the north of Launceston and the Retreat Forest, which is known for its fast and open forestry roads.
The final stage returns to the Lisle State Forest, which will also be the longest and most demanding in the event.
Subaru Rally Tasmania sees the return of the ARC to the Apple Isle for the first time in 10 years. The event has received significant government support, with both Events Tasmania and the City of Launceston backing the 2018 event.
Top 10 CAMS Australian Rally Championship
1. #4 Glenney/Sarandis 00:53.3
2. #3 Bates/McCarthy 00:54.2 (+00:00.9)
3. #2 Evans/Searcy 00:54.9 (+00:01.6)
4. #5 Coppin/Feaver 00:56.9 (+00:03.6)
5. #8 Bates/Moscatt 00:58.3 (+00:05.0)
6. #6 Taylor/Read 00:59.0 (+00:05.7)
7. #7 Walkem/Walkem 01:00.9 (+00:07.6)
8. #9 Butcher/Clarke 01:03.4 (+00:10.1)
9. #13 How/Walker 01:06.2 (+00:12.9)
10. #14 Anear/Maguire 01:06.4 (+00:13.1)