Another of the Australian Rally Championship contenders will be driving a Skoda Fabia R5 at next month’s Kennards Hire Rally Australia.
Third placed Steve Glenney and Andy Sarandis will step up from their Subaru WRX STi into a car that is currently in a container and yet to arrive in Australia.
Glenney crashed the Contel Communications Subaru heavily at last month’s BOTT Adelaide Hills Rally, and team owner Craig Brooks has decided to lease the Skoda for Glenney in the final round of the championship.
“We’ve done a one-event deal with RaceTorque to drive a Skoda Fabia R5 that’s currently on its way to Australia from Europe,” Brooks told RallySport Magazine.
“The car will arrive directly into Coffs Harbour, where Steve and Andy will have a pre-event test to acclimatise themselves with the car.”
The orange Subaru that has graced the ARC stages this year is repairable, but according to Brooks, there’s quite a lot of work involved.
“We’ve built the car to extremely high engineering standards with the skills of Pete Nunn and Jason White, and to maintain those standards we were going to run out of time leading up to Rally Australia,” he added.
“I’ve enjoyed the challenge of building a car to try and match the pocket rockets this year, but our hand has been forced after the Adelaide crash.
“In many ways, the accident in SA was like a little piece of all the team dying, as we’ve all put so much time and effort into the Subaru.”
Steve Glenney's Subaru WRX was extensively damaged after a roll in South Australia. Photo: Matt Talbot
Glenney will now get the opportunity to compare himself to Eli Evans in a similar Skoda, despite the championship leader having had plenty of seat time in the R5 car throughout 2018.
“We’re still a chance to win the ARC, but there are a lot of variables in play, and we’d need to have everything go our way,” Brooks said.
After the disappointment of South Australia, Glenney is excited to get a chance to drive the world’s fastest R5 car.
At this stage, the Skoda lease is only a one-event deal, with Brooks undecided on what 2019 holds in store.
“I’ve told the team I want the Subaru repaired and tested by the end of February, so I guess that means we’ll be doing something next year.
“What that is remains to be seen,” he added.
Steve Glenney will drive a Skoda Fabia R5 at Rally Australia. Photo: Luke Whitten
The Tasmanian said that his team had maintained the gap between their PRC Subaru and Harry Bates’ Toyota Yaris AP4 throughout the season, which had been pleasing.
“Every time we’ve made some gains, so has Harry’s team, so it’s been an interesting process.
“I’ve really loved the engineering side of being involved in the ARC program this year, and it’s one of the reasons I’m still so heavily involved in the sport,” he added.
Glenney and Sarandis will test the Fabia R5 on the Monday before Rally Australia, which begins on Friday, November 16.
The event is round six of the Australian Rally Championship. Eli Evans currently leads the title race with 310 points, followed by Harry Bates (281) and Steve Glenney (273).
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