Rally competitors are gearing up for round two of the Asia Pacific Rally Championship and Australian Rally Championship, the Rally of Canberra, to be held around the nation’s capital from May 9 – 11. Rally of Canberra is a joint ARC and APRC event and as such, ARC registered drivers are able to compete in either the international (APRC Rally of Canberra) or national (National Rally of Canberra) competition.
Forty-eight crews from across Australia and the Asia Pacific region will contest the rally, which is held on over 220 kilometres of gravel roads in the forest plantations that surround Canberra. ARC registered drivers competing in the APRC Rally of Canberra will be eligible for ARC points at the conclusion of the event, however they will not be included in the results sheets of the National Rally of Canberra.
Toyota Racing Development’s Simon Evans will lead the charge in the National Rally of Canberra and he will be looking to secure valuable Championship points as he strives for his third consecutive ARC title. “I’m looking forward to the challeng. I’m still not 100 per cent happy with the handling of the car, but I’ve got a good history in Canberra and the more I drive it, the more comfortable I’ll become. Canberra is basically my home event now. All of my testing is done up there with TRD so I drive those roads more than the roads in Melbourne.” Evans will be joined by 27 crews in the national competition, including TRD team mate, round one winner and Canberra local, Neal Bates.
ARC registered competitors Michael Guest, Eli Evans and Nathan Quinn will all contest the APRC Rally of Canberra. Competing against the Asia Pacific region’s best drivers will ensure these competitors gain important international exposure which will further benefit their quests for World Rally Championship drives. “The chance to race against drivers like Katsu (Katsuhiko Taguchi), Cody (Crocker) and current British Rally Champion Guy Wilks, doesn’t happen very often so you have to take the opportunity when it presents itself,” said Eli Evans. “With Wilks entered, a lot of people in Europe will be watching to see how he goes and the exposure I can get from competing alongside him will definitely help me in the future.”
Leading the charge in the international competition is Australian driver and current APRC Champion, Cody Crocker, who will be looking to hold off round one winner, Japan’s Katsuhiko Taguchi. Former ARC competitors and APRC front runners Dean Herridge and Scott Pedder will also be looking to score good points at their ‘home’ event. Japanese drivers Hirioshi Yanagisawa and Takuma Kamada are new to the event and will be looking to score points for later in the championship.
Russian driver Alexander Gamayunov and Gaurav Gill are not expected to take part, but due to injuries from non-motorsport accidents.