International flavour at Forest Rally
With the start of the 2006 Quit Forest Rally just days away, teams are jetting in to Western Australia from around the country to begin preparations for the event. One driver however has a little further to travel.
Round Two of the NEC Computers Australian Rally Championship will see Xu Lang – the 2005 Chinese National Rally Drivers Champion, team up with Australia’s own 2005 National Co-driving Champion, Dale Moscatt. The duo will compete in a Les Walkden prepared Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VIII next weekend, while taking time out from their 2006 Chinese National Rally Championship campaign.
After finishing 2nd Outright in the recent Shanghai Rally, their first event as a team, Xu Lang and Dale are keen to take on the tricky West Australian roads and with a top class field assembling for the event, the boys are keen for the challenge.
“It is great to have all the planning and red tape behind us now and having spoken with Xu Lang just last night we both can’t wait to strap ourselves into the new car and focus on the part we enjoy,” said Dale. “Xu Lang is an extremely enthusiastic and focused guy and it will be interesting to hear his thoughts on the roads and surfaces of this rally.”
“There is not much room for error in the West Australian forests, so we will be taking a reasonably cautious approach that will hopefully see us finish the event with the experience we are coming here for,” said Dale, who won this event in 2005 but who also knows having a new team mate will mean writing new pace notes from scratch to use during the course of this weekend’s 19 stages.
It is with the support of Telstra Rally Australia and Yokohama Advan, combined with the experience of Les Walkden Rallying that has allowed Xu Lang and Dale to compete in the next two rounds of the ARC. Xu Lang and Dale are also thrilled to have become the new ambassadors for Telstra Rally Australia, a flag that they will fly both here and overseas
“With Xu Lang knowing of Les Walkden and having seen the impressive list of achievements and results that Les Walkden Rallying have compiled over the years, Xu Lang has also confirmed that he will now be buying the car that Les and his team have built, as apposed to our original plan to lease,” said Dale.
“We are also very happy to confirm that we will be supported by Yokohama and will use their proven Advan AO35 tyres, as we do back in China,” continued Dale. “It is great to have Yokohama Advan as partners in this venture. In an event which will be completely foreign to Xu Lang, using these tyres will also help to give him some confidence in being able to rely on a tyre package he knows well and that will be a great help in unfamiliar territory.”
The rally itself will be welcome relief for Dale, who has been battling his way through the mountains of visa paper work required for Xu Lang to compete here in Australia. “It has been quite an ordeal to piece together all of the paper work that is needed by both of our immigration departments to bring Xu Lang and Samuel, his interpreter, over here for this rally,” explained Dale.
“Once again I can’t thank Telstra Rally Australia enough for their help and support. We also need to thank the Forest Rally and Rally Queensland organisers and everyone who has helped out from the Australian Immigration Department, as well as the Australian Embassies in China,” said Dale. “From a passing suggestion around a month ago, this was all put together very quickly to becoming a reality now.”
The team will test at a private facility outside of Perth on Tuesday before heading south to Busselton for the event itself. Reconnaissance is scheduled for Thursday, before the competitive stages kick off on Friday evening with the well supported Busselton Toyota Super Stage signalling the start of leg one. From here crews will duel for seconds and the many battles to follow will not be settled until Sunday afternoon’s finish ceremony in the tiny Nannup Township.
Xu Lang and Dale Moscatt would like to thank their sponsors and supporters:- Yokohama Advan Tyres, Telstra Rally Australia, Quit Forest Rally, Coates Rally Queensland, Caltex, Bilstein Shock Absorbers, Les Walkden Rallying and Patrick Shipping. The 2006 Quit Forest Rally will run from the 19th to the 21st of May.