WA rally driver Tom Wilde will have a new co-driver for round three of the 2014 Asia Pacific Rally Champion (APRC), the International Rally of Queensland.
Bill Hayes, who has sat beside Wilde in his Renault Clio as the pair contested the 2013 Australian Rally Championship and the first two rounds of this year’s APRC, has retired to concentrate on his business, Rallyschool WA.
Wilde said he’s grateful for the time he has spent with one of Australia’s finest co-drivers and rally mentors. “He has taught me so much over the last 18 months and we’ve become good mates.”
Hayes’ (pictured with Tom Wilde) decision to call it quits with the Verandah Rally Apartments Team was no surprise to Wilde who said: “We have talked about it since we first started together that this wasn’t a long term thing.”
“He has, unselfishly, always said to me that I need someone to sit next to me that is keen and passionate to partner with for a long term arrangement.”
Wilde and Hayes felt the International Rally of Queensland was the right time to move to a new co-driver, given Wilde has competed in the event twice before (in 2012 and 2013).
Queenslander Anthony McLoughlin, who last year co-drove for Japan’s Toshihiro Arai and who has more than 20 years’ co-driving experience, will be calling the shots for the event ‘and hopefully beyond’.
Wilde said: “He has a huge amount of experience on the roads over there. I’m looking forward to working together.”
The International Rally of Queensland kicks off in Caloundra on the evening of Friday June 20 before covering 240 kilometres around Imbil across the weekend.
Wilde said: “I’m really looking forward to it and it will be exciting to again be able to compare our pace to the local guys.”