Trendsetting rally drivers John Bruinsma and Lisa Read White will make their ARC debut in a Holden VESS Commodore at the International Rally of Queensland on the Sunshine Coast next weekend.

Having endured the sideways glances that come naturally with competing in a Commodore at rallying events, Queensland is the third outing for the team after contesting the WARC’s Quit Forest Rally and Experts Cup earlier in the year.

For Bruinsma, it is a rallying project that harks back to his days as a twenty-one year old when he used to participate in rally open days where people with all sorts of cars got together to show off and discuss the finer aspects of rallying.

It has been a tough task building the car from scratch and after spending much of the first two events more sideways than forwards, the pair enlisted the help of former Australian rallying champion and now MCA suspension owner Murray Coote to try and improve the VE’s handling.

“We sent measurements for two new struts down the phone to Murray and after driving here from WA to get them fitted, I think he may have solved the handling problem for us today,” Bruinsma said.

“We were able to take it out on the private track he has at the back of his place and the change to the vehicle was phenomenal, which really brightened my spirits,” he explained. “We needed to do this rally to find out if we can get the car to handle and if it wasn’t for Murray the dream of the V8 Commodore in rallying was close to being put on the backburner.”

Labelling the rally as a fact-finding mission, Bruinsma said the aim is to get to the finish line and hopefully drum up some support for the team along the way.

“Our aim is to complete the rally, otherwise we will not get the full picture of whether we can compete in the ARC next year,” he said. “It is going to be very difficult to run a full program out of Western Australia without some outside help so we are also hoping to attract some sponsorship.”

For Lisa Read White, her instructions as a co-driver are clear and she has just the answer for catching the eyes of the Queensland rallying faithful and any potential sponsorship.

“I’m to help John navigate from spectator point to spectator point.  You can be sure that we will be going sideways at every spectator point. It is of no concern that we will be haemorrhaging time - as long as the crowd cheers,” White said.

“I’ll put a call out now to all spectators to be prepared to help get us out if we go bush.  There’s a good chance we will need some help,” she said.

“Hopefully the rally will be a lot of fun and with any luck we might be able to stir up the competition a little.”

Rally Queensland representative Chris Nixon said the Queensland rally will benefit from the addition of the Holden Rally Team and urged spectators to get out to the event and enjoy the thrills and spills that only a Holden Commodore rally car can provide.

“The kind of sideways action a rear-drive car displays is going to really thrill the Australian crowd,” Nixon said.

The pair will have a chance to make a good first impression at the traditional Friday morning shakedown and VIP ride session prior to the event starting.

“Because there is a story to be told about the Holden Rally Team – we believe they deserve the chance to display their car and their competitiveness in front of the crowd who will be there at the media day,” he said.

“Not only were they one of the earliest entries for the event they are also the team who will have travelled the furthest distance to get here and we were impressed by that.”

The event will be held from 31 July to 1 August 2010 on closed-road forestry stages near the township of Imbil in the northern hinterland of the Sunshine Coast beach holiday strip.

For real-time information on how the Holden Rally Team fare at the International Rally of Queensland follow ‘RallyWA’ on twitter:

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