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It may well be the first time a Side-by-Side has run against a World Rally Car, but at next month’s Coates Hire Rally Australia Cody Crocker will make sure Polaris is well represented.
“I’d made the comment last year that our Side-by-Side’s are like mini World Rally Cars, now we’ll get a chance to see if that’s the case,” laughed Cody.
Crocker will head a swarm of Polaris and Can-Am Side-by-Sides as they contest the three day Rally Australia course, on roads that will be used by both the front running World Rally Championship drivers as well as the rougher, more demanding roads used by the Australian Off-Road Championship.
“It’s going to be a pretty tough three days, but to be honest the rougher the conditions the more we enjoy it in our cars,” said Cody. “For instance at the last Round of the ARC in Queensland all the drivers were complaining about how rough the roads were. I can tell you none of the SxS competitors were, we love those sorts of roads!”
Despite the three-day endurance nature of Australia’s Round of the World Rally Championship Crocker is convinced that the pace will be white hot from the very first corner.
“It’ll be flat out everywhere, we don’t know any other way in these cars. When you look at the fight we had with Michael Guest in Queensland, where we were seconds apart on every stage, you just know it’ll be a massive fight again at Rally Australia,” added Crocker.
While the battles between Crocker and Michael Guest were tight last year, an upgrade to the latest Can-Am for Guest this season has only intensified the fight for supremacy between the two rally stalwarts.
“In terms of stage times both our Polaris and his (Guest’s) Can-Am are extremely close. We’ve both won stages this year, but maybe reliability has let Guesty down this season. You just know that every event Guesty has found an improvement, or a way to go faster, and I’m finding it harder and harder to find ways to keep up.”
It will be an interesting change of pace for Crocker from his past exploits at Rally Australia where he regularly flew the flag as Australia’s leading driver and mixed times with the World’s best Group N drivers.
“I do look back at the old days with Subaru in the Group N car at Rally Australia, they were always incredible rallies and something we looked forward to all year,” explained Cody.
“For sure I’d love to still be out there in a Group N car doing Asia-Pacific or World Rally events, but driving the Side-by-Sides is equally exciting. Sure they are different but the commitment of driving one of these cars is exactly the same as getting the best out of a Group N car.”
“You’ve got to commit to every corner, that’s what makes the Side-by-Side formula so exciting!” added Crocker. “I just can’t wait to hit those Coffs Harbour roads in a couple of weeks time.”
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