With entries now closed for the upcoming Allied Air Conditioning Coffs Coast Rally, current Australian Rally Championship leader, Scott Pedder will be aiming to extend his lead in the ARC after two previous rounds.

But Pedder, who will drive an Evo 10 Mitsubishi Lancer, won’t have it all his own way as a major challenge is expected from current Australian Rally Champion, Simon Evans. Evans is Subaru WRX-mounted this year and is expected to have the legs on the faster rally stages but Pedder is expected to have his measure on the twistier sections.

Simon Evans’ younger brother, Eli, should perform well in his Honda Civic Type R as it was this event two years ago that saw the debut of the Honda Civic Type R 2WD in the hands of British Champion, Guy Wilks. Setting the fastest time on the very first stage of the event, Wilks stunned the crowds and fellow competitors in the process.  

Nathan Quinn, the local hotshot, will return in his Lancer EVO 9, the car having been totally rebuilt by local supporters after a major accident. Quinn is the son of the Rally Manager and successful competitor in the past, Martin Quinn, himself no stranger to the forests around Coffs Harbour.  

Hyundai will debut their i30 diesel rally car and Mick Gillett and his team have burned the midnight oil to have the car ready to go. Entered in the Eco Challenge category, the i30 is expected to be one of the most economical cars in the rally!

Victorian Glen Raymond has entered the Raymond Partners Lancer EVO 10 and will build on his results as runner-up in the ARC last year. The car is brand new and the team is still coming to grips with the setup after changing from a Toyota Corolla which he campaigned for a few seasons.  

The Australian Classic Rally Club’s Classic field, showcasing over 40 years of the continuous running of the ARC, will precede the Australian Rally Championship teams at the head of the field with a number of famous rally cars and drivers.

Jeff David in his Porsche 911 will lead cars in the category away and the classic rally teams are expected to put on a display which will showcase the golden era of Australian rallying.  Ross Dunkerton, ARC TV presenter and multiple Australian Rally Champion, will drive his Escort RS1800 and will face some stiff competition from Darren Snooks in his powerful Alpine Rally-winning Datsun Stanza.  

Scott McCloy, a Coffs Harbour local, has entered another Datsun Stanza and will be hard to catch. Another duo of Escort RS 1800’s, in the hands of Keith Callinan and Ian Hill, will be challengers as well.  

The vastly experienced Hill is a former 2GO International and Alpine Rally winner and at 61 has entered one of the world’s best examples of Ford’s RS1800 which is valued at over $150,000 -  the Escort genuine in every detail. Former ARC Rally star Will Orders has entered a potent Mazda RX-7 under the Pedders Rally Team banner.   

Wayne Hoy, a local Banana farmer will be behind the wheel of a classic Datsun 180B – a rally car that was popular back in the 80’s.  

Yet another Datsun Stanza, in East African Safari Rally livery, is to be driven by Nicola Testa while Gerald Schofield will pilot one of Australia’s most famous Escort rally cars, JHV-260, now painted in Cossack Red livery. There is no doubt that the Escort, with 330 BHP on tap, will be a crowd pleaser.  
A further category being run in the event, the NSW Rally Championship, is to be contested by 14 crews and local Peter Roberts is the clear favourite.  Ben Cullen, who competed in Repco Rally Australia last year, will keep them honest in his Lancer however the crowds will be waiting to see local Troy O’Doherty in his thundering TR7 V8 take on the challenge of the local shire roads.  

Crews will cover 297km of forestry and Shire roads around Coffs Harbour and will be serviced and refettled in the historic town of Glenreagh, between Coffs Harbour and Grafton.

Rally cars will assemble for the start of the Allied Air Conditioning Coffs Coast Rally at 11:30am on Friday May 14th at the Coffs Harbour Showground and then complete three stages in the afternoon before returning for a service and meal break before preparing for the Rally Show at the Coffs Harbour Showground in the afternoon.  

Competitors will start the first of two runs at the Super Special stage on and around the roads of the showground at 6pm where they will burst into the central arena at high speed and traverse a tricky, twisty course designed to showcase the skills of Australia’s current and past rally drivers.  

Spectators won’t want to miss what will be a very unique rally experience with current high tech rally cars showing their sensational speeds with world class drivers at the wheel combined with rally legends from yesteryear.

On display will be some of our very best rally drivers of the modern time, not only in the latest AWD cars but famous rally cars of the past. There will be action a-plenty so get some extra batteries for those cameras. You’ll need them!

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