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New Zealand driver Brian Green today lodged the first international entry for next month’s FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) Rally Queensland round on the Sunshine Coast.

Green will pair with long-time co-driver Fleur Pedersen in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 9 for the 8-10 May event, which will be the 41st Rally Queensland but the first run at international level.

Rally Queensland will host the second round of the APRC, which follows the opening round in New Caledonia over Easter, plus round four of the Australian Rally Championship, rounds two and three of the Queensland Rally Championship and a regional qualifying round for the prestigious Pirelli Star Driver program.

While Green’s is the first official entry, several other top teams have previously announced they will be running in Australia in the APRC, ARC or QRC rounds.

They include two-time APRC Champion Cody Crocker and the series’ first woman driver, Emma Gilmour, who will be driving the latest model Subaru Imprezas for the Singapore-based Motor Image team, New Zealand Champion Hayden Paddon, two-time Australian Champion Simon Evans and Queensland Champion Ryan Smart.

Green, a North Island property developer, finished sixth in last season’s Asia Pacific drivers championship and is one of New Zealand’s busiest and most successful international rally drivers.

He won the 2004 Malaysian National Championship, has been on the podium in Thailand and China and contested the Arctic Rally of Finland and World Rally rounds in Ireland and Britain.

Rally Queensland Clerk of Course Errol Bailey said Green’s entry marked the start of a new era for the longest-running event in the Australian Rally Championship.

“This is the first international entry for our first international event and we warmly welcome Brian Green and Fleur Pedersen,” he said.

“Now that Rally Queensland is part of a series that also includes China, Japan, Malaysia, Indonesia, New Zealand and New Caledonia we look forward to welcoming many more of the region’s top drivers, cars and teams.

“Rally Queensland promises to be a great event for competitors and spectators alike. We have been judged the best rally in Australia in the recent past and now are stepping up to a higher level again of organisation and promotion.

“Our new Sideways in the Sun festival of support activities is an innovation in Australian rallying and will make it even more exiting for spectators.”

The Sideways in the Sun program is scheduled to include a Top 10 Shootout student and spectator day, a rally car cavalcade on the Sunshine Coast, the traditional ceremonial start and driver meet-and-greet night, driver public appearances, service and spectator park activities and an interactive zone.

The website www.sidewaysinthesun.com will be the main information source for spectators and on-line followers throughout the rally.

Rally Queensland will be headquartered at the beachfront SurfAir Marcoola Beach resort.

After the official Friday night start at nearby Nambour, crews will tackle more than 220 kilometres of competitive special stages over the weekend in the Imbil State Forest, in the Sunshine Coast hinterland.
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