One of Australia’s hottest young rally drivers, Steve Glenney, is aiming to upset the established stars when he makes his Classic Adelaide debut in an exotic World Rally-inspired Lancia Delta Integrale next month.

The rally on 19-23 November will be the first classic-car event for the 32-year-old South Australian and his Italian Lancia, although he has established his tarmac-racing credentials beyond question by winning Targa Tasmania in a late-model Mitsubishi this year.

And after completing two days’ of testing the 1988-model Lancia near Hobart this week, the South Australian says he’s aiming to be on the pace with past Classic Adelaide winners Kevin Weeks and Rex Broadbent and the eight-time Targa champion Jim Richards, all of whom will be Porsche-mounted.

“We’re out there to win and would like to think we’re at least a podium chance,” he said.

“The Lancia is less powerful than the Porsches, but we hope to make it up in the corners because it has all-wheel drive. You can really throw it at the corners, whereas the Porsches need a bit of finessing.”

The 12th annual Classic Adelaide will see up to 300 cars from Australia and overseas, representing 88 years of motoring history, tackle around 1000 kilometres of challenging and scenic roads in the Adelaide region.

Working hard on his Classic Adelaide preparation, Glenney is shelving his interest in a different kind of horsepower at the current Spring Racing Carnival. Usually, he divides his time between professional driving and work at his family’s Glen Brae thoroughbred horse stud at Wistow, near Adelaide.

“Sometimes we keep a few horses but we don’t have any running in the spring carnival and currently motor-racing is my passion.

“Classic Adelaide is such a great, iconic event and my Home Loan Centre Australia team has been striving to be in it for a while. It’s one of the big ones and I’ve been frustrated sitting on the sidelines of my home event.”

Glenney promises the turbocharged Lancia Delta Integrale, based on a model that won 46 World Championship rallies in the 80s and 90s, will provide a great experience for the thousands of spectators who follow Classic Adelaide.

“The fans will love it because the exhaust crackles and pops and spits flames like the World Rally Cars – it makes an angry sound. The Lancia is something very different and has a huge international following.”

The nimble little hatchback with left-hand drive, fat wheels and bulging mudguards will add spice to a field already packed with Ferraris, Mercedes-Benzes, Lamborghinis, Maseratis, Aston Martins, Porsches, Alfa Romeos, De Tomasos, Jaguars and other desirable makes.

Cars will compete in either Competition or Touring categories, with a Prologue to determine starting order followed by four days’ of closed-road driving in the Adelaide Hills, Barossa Valley, Southern Vales, Fleurieu Peninsula, Victor Harbor and McLaren Vale regions.

The event provides entrants with superb driving opportunities and a busy social diary, including a car show, crews’ welcome party, street parade, nighttime street party, winery and motor museum visits and a black-tie presentation dinner.

Entries are still open and for a limited time places for the 2009 Classic Adelaide are also available with the fee capped at the 2008 Early Bird price of $5,850, a saving of $1000.
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