Tim Auty set the Australian Rally Championship alight with his speed at the recent Rally Tasmania. Driving a Mazda 323, Auty finished an impressive fifth against some stiff opposition. Matt Whitten caught up with the talented Tasmanian.

Tim Auty finished 5th at Rally Tasmania.

Name: Tim Auty Role: Driver How did you get into rallying? My older brother William and I heard stories from Dad about when he and his brother did some rallies in the 1970s. In the early 2000s, we joined a car club and William rallied, with Dad navigating. Will got married and that was the end of rallying for him, so I took over. As a younger brother, it was my goal to be faster than him. Sadly, he passed away from cancer in 2008 and never lived to see me win a rally. What is you favourite rally moment you’ve experienced? Every time I feel a corner is near 100% it is a good experience. I have a long way before I can do that all the time! What is your favourite rally? Any rally I’m driving in (Haha). This year's Rally Tasmania had lots of great moments. Pace notes are still a novelty to me, as Tasmania has been slow picking up on them. To be able to compete in a 2-day rally on notes is a great experience. They allow you to drive closer to the limit without as much risk as in a blind rally.

Auty's ex-NZ Mazda 323 has proven to be a giant killer in Tasmania. Photo: Peter Whitten

Who is your favourite driver? Ari Vatanen. Any man that has won the World Rally Championship and says he puts God and family before rallying is someone to look up to. If you were not a rally driver, what would you be doing? I would be still racing something with wheels, regardless. What is your go to snack food? Mum would say it's pasta! You blew the rally community away with your pace in Tassie. Were you expecting such a good result? I was not expecting to be as competitive as we were. I’m not fooling myself, as there is more pace needed to be found before I can fight for a podium. I know there is more speed to be had.

The Mazda sports an 1840cc, turbocharged, DOHC engine.

The 4WD, turbocharged Mazda is very uncommon when compared to WRXs and Evos. Why did you buy the Mazda rather than a more traditional 4WD car? Who wants to stick with tradition? It was kind of an accident that I ended up with the Mazda. I did rally an Evo 8 for six months, but it all became too much for me at the time. I was looking for an Xtrac gearbox for my old GT4, and found the Mazda. Realising what a fun car it is, I had to stick with it. It has taken a lot more work than an Evo or a WRX to get it to where it is today, but I’m very happy with it. And for all those Mazda Familia owners wondering why the gearbox doesn’t explode every rally, it does have a Group A Xtrac. Your car is an ex-Group A car. What history does it have? It was rallied by the Silcocks in New Zealand. Darren Masters from SA brought it to Australia in the early 2000s. I bought it in 2012, and most of the time since then has been re-building it. I don’t know if it was successful in NZ. Do you have any aspirations to do any more ARC events this year, or maybe next year? Not this year. I would need to plan ahead before heading to the mainland. Definitely Rally Tasmania next year. I may have to see if I can get some support to get it across the water and do the Victorian round. But this is motorsport, the best laid plans can come apart very quickly.

The rear sub-frame and rear diff have been made by Tim and his Dad. The car runs a Peugeot 504 diff with Mazda RX7 LSD.

Tim driving his first rally car in his first state event. The Celica GT4 was the ex-Norm Fritter car, now owned by Coral Taylor, Norm's daughter.

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