Australia’s best rally teams will be kept on their toes at this weekend’s Subaru Rally Tasmania as they face all-new special stages in the forests around Launceston.
The CAMS Australian Rally Championship (ARC) returns to Tasmanian shores this week for the first time in 10 years, with 240 competitive kilometres on roads that haven’t seen rally action in 20 years.
Championship contenders agree that they will need to be on the ball at Thursday’s reconnaissance to ensure they nail the event’s 17 special stages.
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Rally Tasmania will roar into life in the normally serene surrounds of Inveresk on Friday evening.
A rubber-burning “super special stage” of 820 metres between Forster Street and the North Esk River will kick-off two days of more conventional rally action over 240km of forest roads surrounding Launceston that have not seen competitive rallying since the 1990s.
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Spectators will be the real winners when round four of the CAMS Australian Rally Championships races into Launceston later this week. Rally Tasmania will be launched at Inveresk on Friday night.
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STORY BY JESSICA WILLARD / PHOTO BY NEIL RICHARDSON
Subaru do Motorsport team will be drawing on some local expertise at Subaru Rally Tasmania this weekend, as the Apple Isle makes a return to the CAMS Australian Rally Championship calendar.
Subaru do’s Production Rally Car (PRC) class All-Wheel Drive WRX STI is prepared by Launceston-based Les Walkden Rallying.
Driver Molly Taylor and co-driver Malcolm Read are hoping that the team’s wealth of local knowledge will provide some useful pointers for the 17 stages.
Team Principal and local rally legend Les Walkden has intricate knowledge of the tracks and trails outside Launceston, so the crew have been busy interrogating him on the nuances of Tasmanian rallying.
Molly also has the advantage of winning the state round in Tasmania in each of the last two years, though those events focused on stages in different locations to this weekend’s event.
Molly said: “From Les to the tech crew, Malcolm and I have been pummelling them for local insights, which could prove invaluable over the weekend.
“We’ve got a big job to do if we’re going to work our way up from fourth in the Championship – but what better way to do it than Les’s back yard!”
She added: “It’s certainly great Subaru country, so that will hopefully balance out some of the edge against the lightweight R5 and AP4-class cars.”
Subaru Rally Tasmania is supported by local Launceston Subaru dealer, Neil Buckby Motors, where Dealer Principal Crichton Lewis is a long-term participant in - and supporter of - the sport.
Subaru’s highest market share is in Tasmania, with the benefits of All-Wheel Drive coming to the fore on the many dirt and gravel roads.
Between rallies, the team conducted a test session in Tasmania earlier this month.
Molly also attended the Motor Sports Club of Tasmania’s 60th Anniversary – at which Les Walkden was recognized with life membership.
This weekend’s event, the fourth round of the CAMS ARC, covers 17 stages across 242.46 competitive kilometres.
Heat 1 starts on Friday with a quick burn around Inveresk Super Special Stage, which is just 0.86 of a kilometre long.
The balance of the Heat 1 stages on Saturday include two runs through the 20.86 km Lisle 1 and 2 and the entire heat covers 130.18 km.
Sunday’s Heat 2 covers six more stages including the longest of the rally, the 24.99 km Lonestar Ridge 1 and 2. Total heat distance is 112.26 km, with action due to conclude late on Sunday afternoon.
Subaru do Motorsport merchandise will be on sale on Friday at the Inveresk Super Special Stage and also on Saturday and Sunday at the Inveresk Service Park. Among the new items is a polar fleece and beanie. The merchandise can also be obtained at: https://shop.subaru.com.au/ or via authorised Subaru retailers.
Adrian Coppin and his Skoda Fabia R5 made an appearance at Buckby Motors for the start of rally week for Subaru Rally Tasmania.
Thank you to Southern Cross News Tasmania for covering the story!
Australia’s best rally action will land on Launceston’s doorstep this Friday night when Subaru Rally Tasmania kicks off with a fast and furious Super Special Stage at Inveresk.
Thirty-five competitors will pilot their rally cars around an 820-metre bitumen course at the Inveresk Roundhouse, racing against the clock to grab the fastest time and an early lead in the three-day event.
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Steve Glenney’s preparation for the Subaru Rally Tasmania will be no different to any other of the CAMS Australian Rally Championship’s (ARC) rounds despite it being his ‘home’ rally.
Glenney, who is currently second on the ARC standings, has had Launceston as his home base since moving from South Australia four years ago.
The South Australian born driver believes that competing in his hometown is probably more difficult due to the standard routine being broken.
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Thirty-five crews will line up for the return of the CAMS Australian Rally Championship to the Apple Isle on the 27-29 July, taking on the challenge of ‘unknown’ special stages that haven’t seen competitive rallying since the 1990s.
Subaru Rally Tasmania will provide competitors with more than 240 kilometres of competition over two days in the forests surrounding Launceston. Special stages will feature wide and flowing roads along with Tasmania’s quintessential twisty and narrow challenges.
The CAMS Australian Rally Championship field will be led by Eli Evans and Ben Searcy in the Tankformers Skoda Fabia R5. Hot on his heels will be the Toyota Genuine Parts Yaris AP4 of Harry Bates and John McCarthy.
While Evans has at times looked untouchable, Bates pushed the three-time Australian champion all the way at the Netier National Capital Rally, winning the day two battle on time. The battle looks set to continue in Tasmania.
Third on the road will be local hope Steve Glenney in the Contel Communications Subaru WRX STi, with Andy Sarandis in the co-driver seat. While there will be no home ground advantage in terms of stage knowledge, Glenney will certainly enjoy local support and competing on home soil.
Adrian Coppin will be fourth off the line in the second Skoda Fabia R5 in what is a ‘bonus’ round for the Queenslander, having found the means to extend his original three-round deal through his business, Innate Motorsport and Events. Coppin welcomes Toni Feaver to the co-driver seat, replacing regular co-driver Erin Kelly.
Subaru do Motorsport’s Molly Taylor and Malcolm Read will be fifth on the road with their team, Les Walkden Rallying, enjoying the luxury of an event in their home base of Launceston.
Subaru Rally Tasmania will see the return of the Walkem brothers, Marcus and Scott, in their first ARC event since the 2017 Make Smoking History Forest Rally, where they wrote off their Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX. The brothers, Tasmania's other main hope, will debut the Peugeot 208 AP4, sixth on the road.
Lewis Bates, seventh on the road, welcomes back regular co-driver Dale Moscatt and will be hoping to have an issue-free round in the Neal Bates Motorsport Toyota Corolla S2000 after suffering an early exit last round.
There will be healthy competition in the ARC2 field. Locals Steve Glenney, Mark Butcher and Matt How will be on the hunt for ARC2 points in addition to their Tasmanian Rally Championship campaigns while Ben Hayes, Adam Kaplan and Kevin Raedel have selected the event as their nominated ARC2 round.
A 23-strong field will contest round three of the Dunlop-Motul Tasmanian Rally Championship, all out to catch Championship leader Bodie Reading in his Carver Mechanical Subaru WRX STi.
The Entry List is available to view and download here.
Article by rally.com.au
Scott Walkem has revealed that the Walkem brothers will finally make their long awaited return to the CAMS Australian Rally Championship (ARC) at Subaru Rally Tasmania.
After originally entering June’s Netier National Capital Rally, the brothers made a last minute decision to pull out of the rally with their rebuilt Peugeot AP4 not quite ready for the challenge.
Scott and Marcus Walkem are scheduled to compete in only two of the three remaining ARC rounds, with Tasmania and Coffs Harbour on their list.
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