The first meeting for the AASA Australian Rally Championship was held in Sydney last Wednesday, attended primarily by the event organisers and invited guests.

Bruce Robertson, representing the AASA, confirmed the philosophy behind the Championship as being ‘owned’ by the event organisers.  He emphasised that the AASA is a facilitator of the fundamentals to allow organisers to put on events that will appeal to competitors and have long-term success.

Robertson invited the event organisers to establish a committee to oversee the Championship and to feel free to re-name it as the members saw fit; however the organisers unanimously requested it continue to be called the AASA Australian Rally Championship.

The AASA ARC Committee was subsequently formed, the members being the Clerks-of-Course of each of the five events.

The Committee then invited one of their guests, Ed Ordynski (former Chairman of the Australian Rally Commission) to facilitate their meeting, and he accepted the role.

The AASA ARC Reference Group was then formed – this is a group of experienced advisers in rallying, reporting directly to the Committee as and when required.  The initial appointments to the Reference Group include Murray Coote, Wayne Bell, Peter Muir, Nathan Senior, Stuart Lister, Bruce Garland and Andrew Crawford.

The AASA strongly supports this model where the Championship is run by rally competitors, for competitors, and the focus is always on reporting to the event organisers.

The calendar of events begins on May 24 and 25 with the first of the NSW events, being held at Bathurst.  The organisers will be releasing details of the actual rally shortly.

The Championship then has events in Queensland in July; Victoria in August; NSW, September; and the final round, again in NSW, in October.  The key details will be announced as each organiser determines, during January and February.  This is to allow other events on the rally calendar, nationally, to be taken into consideration, and maintaining the commitment to minimising impact on any other events.

As predicted last week, the Organising Committee confirmed that vehicle eligibility for the 4WD and 2WD Championships will be the same as for cars which normally run in the various state rally championships (including restrictors for turbocharged, 4WD vehicles) while the Classic eligibility will be based on the AMSAG Classic regulations.

The Organising Committee wishes to ensure that, at least in the first year of the championship, a competitor can make an easy transition from any other series and still have a competitive vehicle, without having to modify it for the AASA ARC.

One of the first tasks of the Reference Group is to oversee the specifics of the vehicle and competitor regulations; however the key point is that the AASA ARC is set-up to welcome all current competitors and include those competing in AMSAG Classics.

Individual event regulations will detail the format of each of the rallies as the AASA ARC is not a ‘cookie-cutter’ style championship – events are encouraged to be unique and to best suit the environment in which they are conducted.

The Committee recognises that 2008 is a formative year for the AASA ARC and that details will continue to be released as early in the year as possible as they become confirmed.

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