Spectators will be treated to the very best driving display from the best classic rally drivers currently competing in Australia at the upcoming International Rally of Queensland.

Entered to support the Australian Rally Championship and to commemorate 40 years of the championship (ARC), a quality field has been assembled for the grand finale to what has been one of the most successful competitions in Australian rallying this year.

The Australian Rally Commission last year approved the “front of field” status for ACRA members and the club went about searching for quality entrants to showcase the golden age of rallying when Webers and rear wheel drive were the dominant force in Australian rallying.

The International Rally of Queensland will be the third and final round of the Australian Classic Rally competition, following the first round in Coffs Harbour and the second round in South Australia.

In recognition of the status of classic rallying and the contribution made by these cars in forming the modern day competition, the FIA have granted dispensation for the classics to run at the front of the ARC field – a first for rallying locally.  

Some may consider these to be old cars just out for a Sunday drive. Not so. Some of the leading crews in past events have recorded times less than 1.5 seconds a kilometre slower than ARC front runners – embarrassing some mid fielders in the latest specification 4WD turbo cars.

Channel 10’s co-commentator and 5 times Australian Rally Champion, Ross Dunkerton, will return to the tricky Imbil forest roads in his Ford Escort RS1800.

“Jeff David has to be the one to watch: he has consistent pace, but you can’t discount Orders and Monkhouse – they are both doing the business,” Dunkerton said. “Stewart Reid is a dark horse and so is Richard Galley – both in Datsuns. It’s our best field yet and it’s going to be on for young an old.”

Will Orders and Jack Monkhouse will compete again, both former ARC competitors in powerful examples of cars from ARC history – Orders in the Pedders RX 7 and Monkhouse in a Datsun 180B SSS.   

Jeff David will be able to stretch the legs of his Porsche 911 and cannot be discounted to take the win. But then, Stewart Reid, a past top level ARC driver and former member of the Holden Precision Driving Team, has entered in a potent Datsun 1600: will he upset the front runners?

Wayne Hoy returns to the rally and he was right on the pace in the Coffs Harbour event in his powerful Datsun Stanza.

Darryn Snooks will fight every stage in his Stanza with Hoy, and Keith Callinan in his Ford Escort RS1800 might just upset them both, the fast flowing roads of Imbil will allow the Escort BDA to use all of its 10,000rpm redline!

To back up all this action, there will be a Datsun 260Z, RA 40 works replica Celica, an East African Safari replica Datsun Stanza and the mighty works liveried Triumph TR7 V8!

So, whilst the ARC might be fought out between Simon Evans, Glen Raymond and Steve Shepheard, and the APRC rally honours being challenged by Chris Atkinson, it’s anyone’s guess who will be the winner of the Australian Classic Rally Competition on Sunday afternoon at the Imbil showground.

Ones thing is for sure, if you don’t get out to the Coates Super Special Stage on Friday night at Caloundra and the spectator park on Saturday and Sunday, you will miss the very best classic rally action Australia has to offer.

If you are wondering why classic rallying is one of the fastest growing sections of Australian rallying, five minutes in the forest will reveal all!

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Photo: Stuart Bowes
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