With talk of his likely return to the Australian Rally Championship intensifying, former Mitsubishi Ralliart Australia driver, Scott Pedder, speaks candidly about his hopes of returning to the ARC next year.

Pedder, who won the 2006 Rally of Melbourne in his most recent appearance in the ARC, is actively pursuing a drive in a Super 2000 Ford Fiesta in 2008, and firmly believes that the new Ford will be the fastest car on the stages next year.

RallySport Magazine spoke to Pedder about where he’s at with his plans for next year, and how he hopes that a control tyre rule will be introduced for next season.

RSM: Talk is cheap at this time of the year. Where are you at with Mitsubishi? Have talks stopped re-2008, or is there a chance they could return next year?
Scott Pedder: I think with the gravel homologation of the Evo X not expected until the latter part of the year you won’t see Mitsubishi in the ARC in 2008.  However, due to the interest in and expected performance of the car, you will probably see several Evo X's running as privateer entries in many of the tarmac rallies throughout Australia.  At this stage I have not heard any word from either MMAL or Alan Heaphy as to whether Mitsubishi will support an entry in an Evo X for any motorsport event for 2008.

RSM: How far down the track are you with talking to Britek about running a Fiesta in 2008?
Scott Pedder: At this stage they are simply introductory discussions.

RSM: Do you have current personal sponsorship that would help to secure the deal? Trading Post, for example?
Scott Pedder: I am currently working on that with a few of my contacts, including obviously Trading Post.  Unfortunately all the options I currently have in terms of rallying for next year are dependent on sourcing sponsorship funds, so really it is a matter of presenting as many options to a prospective sponsor as possible and working with them to provide elements that will deliver the best possible return for them.

RSM: What sort of money do you think that you'd need to buy an S2000 car, or to lease one for the ARC?
Scott Pedder: I'm not sure - you would need to ask Britek or TRD that one.

RSM: Would Alan Heaphy be involved if you went down the Ford path?
Scott Pedder: Absolutely not.  Alan and his team are currently still heavily involved with Mitsubishi.

RSM: Michael Guest showed in Melbourne that the Ford is potentially faster than the Toyota. Does this give you an added incentive for a return in a Ford next year, given you were possible the fastest driver in last year's ARC?
Scott Pedder: Of course - but to be honest it wasn’t their performance in the Rally of Melbourne that made the difference.  My initial contact to Britek was prior to that.  The potential in the car and the team has always been there and they have been getting progressively more competitive throughout the year. Their performance in Melbourne wasn’t a surprise - the car is quick.  I think people were too quick to judge the performance of the team at the start of 2007, but when you consider what they have been able to achieve in such a short time with such a unique car, it is very impressive.     

RSM: Simon Evans will obviously be fast in the S2000 Toyota, but many think Spencer Lowndes will be the man to beat next year in the Group N Evo 9. Have you  considered running an Evo 9 yourself, and if so, why would you go down the S2000 path instead?
Scott Pedder: I expect Simon to be very quick in the S2000 car - I think Neal (Bates) has been consistently quicker this year than last, so based on that you would have to say Simon will be quicker in the S2000 car than the N(P) car.  As for Spencer, I'm sure he would like you suggesting he is the man to beat, especially considering he is yet to win an ARC Heat or event. Spencer has had a surprisingly good year and he has always been a consistent performer, and I think if he is allowed to run the car in PRC trim again like in the Rally of Melbourne, and he makes the car a true PRC car, he will be very, very competitive. The Evo IX is a terrific car and being the third year of its development helps. The pace we showed with Ralliart at the end of 2006 suggested that we would also have been very competitive in 2007 - but that is now history! In my opinion, the Ford will be the quickest car in next year’s championship, but the winner, like always, will be the person that is consistently quick and reliable over the whole season.

RSM: Finally, what major rule change would you like to see introduced for the 2008 ARC?
Scott Pedder: I hope the control tyre rule comes in!

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