The first of two rounds in Australia draw fresh entrants to the 2019 FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) with this weekend’s running of Rally Tasmania.
Hosted out of Launceston, one of Australia’s oldest cities, it is brand new to the APRC and brings fresh scenery to the diversity the series is built upon.
First confirmed entrant is local team and driver Marcus Walkem – a multiple Tasmanian Rally champion, and Tasmania’s best chance to win the event. The team will debut the Hyundai i20 R5 that is to be used by current Pacific Cup points leader Hayden Paddon in August.
“We decided to bring this new car in the country and it’s certainly reinvigorated our passion for the sport,” Marcus said.
“The car is head and shoulders better than the previous Peugeot because we had really limited opportunities with that car. Immediately with this car, we have found it fits like a glove and does everything we want it to do. With the AP4 class, you are always guessing with the engineering, but with R5 class, all the hard work has been done. They have done thousands of kilometres of testing and it shows when you drive it. Having Hayden over from New Zealand to help the set the car up was invaluable. His advice and assistance has made the car spot on.”
From Friday night’s 5pm ceremonial start at the Inveresk Precinct, each car will participate in a non-timed hot warm up lap in the Inveresk Super Special stage. That’s followed by the 820m rally stage held under lights around the Inveresk Roundhouse. The stage is designed for easy spectator access and media opportunities. The first car is due to start at 1705hrs.
Saturday takes the teams north and east of Launceston, for group of five special stages. Returning to Launceston for a midday service the loop is repeated in the afternoon.
The remaining six stages take competitors north on the Sunday. The double-run stages include a late-morning half-way service back at Launceston.
Returning teams will finish at Peppers Silo Hotel, with the first car due at approximately 1530hrs. Podium celebrations will take place at approximately 1630hrs.
Photo courtesy of rally.com.au