Maximum Motorsport will take to the outback, with the announcement that it will contest the Australasian Safari at the end of September.

But not only will the Safari be a new event for the Perth-based rally team, they will debut a current model Subaru Forester XT prepared specifically for the event. "There's a lot for 'firsts' for us with this event," commented Maximum Motorsport's Dean Herridge.

"For the last few years we've been focusing on tarmac rallying, but the Safari is about as far removed from Targa Tasmania as you can get! As a team we have a lot of experience in gravel rallying through all the years we competed in the ARC. We've tried our hand at circuit racing with the Bathurst 12 Hour, and we've enjoyed great success in tarmac rallying, culminating with victory in this year’s Australian Targa Championship. So this project sees us moving to the opposite end of the rallying spectrum with the Safari."

The Safari is an off-road endurance event, which takes competitors from Perth into the Western Australian outback for seven days of competitive stages.

"We're in the middle of preparing a Subaru Forester XT especially for this event. It's the first time we've used the Forester as the basis for a rally car. We'll be running in the Safari Production category, so there are very limited modifications permitted. But we think the Forester will not only be nimble, but also tough enough for the kind of terrain we'll encounter."

Piloting the Maximum Motorsport Forester will be two-time Australian Rally Champion Rob Herridge. "I'm not quite sure if I drew the short stick or the long one!" quipped the rally veteran. "The one thing I do know is that it's going to be a very hard event. Hard on the equipment, hard on myself and Tim Batten, who will co-drive for me. And hard on our team, who'll have to keep up as we race for more than 3700km through the bush."

"The Safari is this regions answer to the Dakar Rally, and I'm really looking forward to it. It's going to be a great event."

The Australian Safari kicks off with a ceremonial start at Hillarys Boat Harbour on Thursday 22 September, and finishes on Friday 30 September in Kalgoorlie in the heart of Western Australia's Golden Outback.

For more details about the event may be found at the official event web site:
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