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Subaru Rally driver Cody Crocker kick-started his Rally Australia campaign tonight with two runs over the Super Special Stage at Murwillumbah in the north of New South Wales.

Driving the Les Walkden Rallying-prepared Impreza WRX STI in the tenth round of the World Rally Championship, Crocker was ninth fastest among the production class group N cars. He is well placed to tackle the real action which gets underway tomorrow with 13 stages across 94.84 competitive kilometres.

Leading the way in Group N was Armindo Araujo, who starts Friday with a 12.8 second buffer over Crocker and co-driver Ben Atkinson.

Other Australians, including Neal Bates, Eli Evans and Glen Raymond, are ahead of Crocker, but as the Victorian driver knows, events are lost on Super Special Stages and not won. He remains in easy striking distance of all his rivals, and is confident that he will move up the field over the remaining three days.

The three-time Australian and three-time Asia-Pacific champion was facing the prospect of watching his home round of the WRC from the sidelines. But a last minute rescue package from Les Walkden Rallying sees the Victorian exactly where he wants to be – right in the thick of the action.

“Ben and I are really looking forward to getting out there and trying to make a big impact in the P-WRC field,” Crocker said.

“Naturally, we want to produce a top result here. We’d love to finish on the podium this weekend, but we’ll need things to go our way, that’s for sure.

“The conditions this week have been fantastic, but the forecast is talking rain, so that could change things dramatically.

“That will suit us. We have developed a lot of experience competing in different conditions over the last three years in the APRC, so that won’t faze us.

“The team has produced a really good car. It feels good, so I’m hoping that we can put on a really good show over the next few days.

“The roads are an interesting mix. Some of it is super fast, other parts are tight and twisty. Dust will be an issue, particularly if it stays dry, as we are at one-minute intervals.

“It is very exciting to have the WRC back in Australia, so we are just out to make the most of this late opportunity, and reward Les (Walkden) and our other backers for their faith in us.”

The action gets underway around 7.40am on Friday, with the cars due back at the Super Special at Murwillumbah at 6.30pm.
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