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The 2018 Australian Rally Championship calendar is moving closer to finalisation, with a Tasmanian round a good chance to join the series next year. This year’s ARC was cut back from six rounds to five after the cancellation of the Rally of Queensland in May, but a return to a six-event format is a possibility. Meanwhile, a test event was held in Tasmania last month, in which reigning ARC champion, Molly Taylor, took victory. “There’s a lot of intangibles to throw into the mix when deciding the calendar, but we’re in process of pulling it together,” CAMS manager of events, Michael Smith, told RallySport Magazine. “That includes the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship round, and what event we include in that. “Canberra did a very good job at late notice this year, and we need to chat to decide if they want to continue to do it.” Smith admitted that after their candidate event this year, Tasmania deserves the chance to return to the ARC, while CAMS has also had interest from a couple of groups interested in running a round of the series again in Queensland. “In reality, Queensland is probably more likely to be 2019, but it really comes back to what we want the calendar to look like. “It’s a work in progress and we need to decide if we want five or six rounds. That also includes TV coverage and the cost of that to competitors.”

Eli Evans drove a Peugeot in the season opener in Ballarat. (Photo: John Doutch)

“There’s an APRC working group meeting today (Monday), and we’ll be talking to ARC organisers in the coming days. Hopefully in two to three weeks a decision will be made on the calendar.” Smith stressed that there was a need to deliver a calendar for the competitors, including how many rounds teams want included. Rally Australia is likely to be included in the ARC again next year and, for the third year in a row, as the final round of the series. RallySport Magazine asked Smith if this was a good thing, given that the ARC can easily get lost in the excitement of the WRC’s final round? “I believe it’s a positive, not a negative,” he said.
“Last year we had four drivers who could win the title going into the last round, with Molly winning it. I don’t think we got lost in the clutter of the WRC. I think the ARC stood up on its own two feet in that regard."
“We have a close championship again this year, and I believe that the increased profile from having the ARC’s final round in conjunction with the WRC round can be a positive thing. “Things are looking really positive at the moment with the new AP4 cars coming online, and I think the future is exciting,” Smith said.
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