OVERSEAS and Australian rally crews are under way with final preparations for the start of the International Rally of Queensland on the Sunshine Coast tonight.
Leading drivers and co-drivers contesting round four of the 2010 FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship and round five of the Australian Rally Championship will take part in a private shakedown session this morning to tune their cars’ set-up for the event’s first two competitive stages at the Coates Hire Rally Shootout at Caloundra tonight.
Others were due to leave at first light to complete reconnaissance of the 16 forestry gravel stages around the town of Imbil, an hour’s drive north-west of rally headquarters at the ocean-front SurfAir at Marcoola Beach resort.
The aftermath of two days’ rain in the Mary Valley resulted in very slippery roads and some delays when many in the 82-car field attempted their reconnaissance yesterday.
“It’s pretty greasy out there. I hope the roads have a day to dry out before we go back up there on Saturday,” Proton R3 Malaysia factory team star Chris Atkinson said as he returned from the forests last night.
Atkinson, seeded second in the Asia Pacific round, will join the shakedown this morning with teammate Alister McRae, championship leader Katsu Taguchi from Japan and his Indian MRF teammate Guarav Gill, both in Mitsubishis, Rifat Sungkar, Atsushi Masumura from Japan, New Zealand’s Brian Green, Jean-Louis Leyraud from New Caledonia and three Australian wildcards.
Victorian Simon Evans, hoping to clinch his fourth Australian Rally Championship this weekend, and top local driver Ryan Smart also will be in the shakedown line-up.
Source: Event Release