Competitors talk up future of Australian Rally Championship
- 8th August 2012, 8:58am
For the first time since the introduction of the G2 spec, the Bosch Australian Two Wheel Drive ARC podium was filled with three G2 spec cars: the Honda Jazz of Eli Evans, Mazda2 of Simon Evans and Honda Jazz of Mark Pedder.
According to Scott Pedder, CEO of the Bosch Australian Championship, having the three G2 hatches on the podium at South Australia is conformation the G2 formula is the right direction for the series.
"It was great to see an all G2 podium in South Australia," said Scott Pedder.
"For Simon Evans to be so competitive in his first event in the new G2 spec Mazda2 shows the G2 regulations make for tight competition."
Although the G2 specification will be the dominant category from 2013 when the Bosch Australian Rally Championship completes the transition to two wheel drive, Pedder suggested that the flexibility of rules and eligibility is the secret to the success of the new formula as the championship strives for manufacturer interest whilst still providing a platform for existing and new privateer competitors on various budget levels.
"Jack Monkhouse proved on the weekend that a car built to PRC regulations and to a budget, and rear-wheel drive, can also be very competitive in the right hands," Scott Pedder added.
"G2 is certainly the pinnacle in terms of specification but PRC (Production Rally Car) as well as the FIA classes (R2, R3, Group N and Super 1600) are very welcome and can also compete on even terms.
"We want competitors back in the ARC and I think we have regulations that are very fair and inclusive and provide opportunity that perhaps has been missing over the past few years."
Pedder reiterated that the move to a two wheel drive formula was all about targeting the most popular cars on Australian roads and also brings the Australian championship in line with Britain, where a move to a two wheel drive outright formula this year has proved a huge success.
"The Australian car market is now led by small, front wheel drive cars and the Bosch Australian Rally Championship is targeting these trends by making the sport more market focussed, accessible and sustainable for the competitor and particularly for manufacturers," added Scott Pedder.
"A ready to race G2 specification rally car is around the same price as a Mitsubishi Evo or Subaru WRX and we have no doubt that the G2 formula will provide exciting and close rallying.
"All competitors who have driven a G2 spec car have been in favour of the cars and we are confident that once more G2 cars enter the series, competitors won't look back.
"When you are out on the stages as I was on the weekend it is instantly evident the cars people favour with the attitude and engine note of the G2 and PRC two-wheel drive cars, driven well, is where it is at.
"The performance of Eli in the Honda was outstanding, fighting off strong challenges from Jack Monkhouse in his Nissan as well as his brother Simon, it really made for a fascinating rally.
"It almost reminded me of the "old" days, which I had the pleasure to be directly involved in, where you had up to eight teams fighting for seconds, across a rally in similar spec vehicles. I am confident that we have the base to be heading back and beyond those times," he said.
Pedder also added that competitors could look to Europe to source FIA spec R2 And R3 rally cars extremely economically compared with even building similar spec cars here.
"The strength of the Australia dollar and the availability of many highly competitive R2 and R3 spec cars in Europe mean that this could be a very economical way to get a competitive two wheel drive car to compete in the Bosch ARC," he concluded.
More than 2 million Australians will watch the Bosch ARC on TV in 2012 with the series generating more than 40 hours of national television coverage across the Ten/One HD network - a media equivalency value exceeding $12 million. The Bosch Australian Rally Championship also receives support from- multi-national fuel and lubricant giant BP as the primary fuel supplier and for the third year Korean tyre giant Kumho as the exclusive tyre supplier for the championship. Other commercial partners include East Coast Bullbars, Honda, rallyschool.com.au, Polaris, CanAm, Snake Racing and CAMS.
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