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Brad Markovic Motorsport says there’s been no change to his confidence level following a freak fire that destroyed his Subaru WRX STI in the opening round of the Kumho Tyre Australian Rally Championship (ARC).

Brad Markovic's new Subaru will be ready for the National Capital Rally.The talented WA driver was flying in the opening stages of his home event, the Quit Forest Rally (QFR) around Busselton and Nannup last month, when flames engulfed his Subaru WRX STI quickly and without warning.

Intensive post-event analysis by Maximum Motorsport has revealed a culmination of factors led to the blaze.

It’s now understood a rock which damaged the car’s exhaust also hit the rear differential with enough force to break its cradle mount.

Team manager Dean Herridge explained: “The diff has then pierced the fuel tank very slightly and, when Brad has continued onto the next stage, we believe that the resultant leak and fumes of petrol have ignited.”

“Any single one of those things on its own wouldn’t have been such a problem,” he said. “However the combination of everything has caused the fire.”

Markovic said knowing the incident was no-one’s fault meant his confidence hadn’t been rattled.

“When you have an accident or make a mistake, there’s a lot of soul searching that you do afterwards,” he said. “With this, I didn’t need to. It was so unusual, so it hasn’t changed my mindset.”

Following QFR, the race was on to find a new car and Herridge explained the team located an almost-rally-ready Subaru on the east coast.

“It was just like Brad’s old car, except a hatchback,” he said. “It was mostly built by Possum Bourne Motorsport and built to the level and standards that we’re used to.”

Markovic said was thrilled by the quick turnaround and couldn’t wait to get back behind the wheel at this weekend’s National Capital Rally in Canberra.

“We didn’t get enough racing kilometres at QFR and that’s a huge motivation to get back out there,” he said.

Markovic’s Maximum Motorsport team mate Tom Wilde Motorsport will also be in action however his co-driver Nick Clements is stepping aside for the event.

Herridge explained: “After debrief of QFR, Nick and team have decided that he will play an ‘understudy’ role for Canberra with the plan to fast track his experience before a return later in the year.”

Wilde will be joined by Sydney’s Sam Hill for the National Capital Rally and is hoping to be one of the top contenders.

“When I did this event in 2013, I really enjoyed it,” Wilde said.

“There are some really technical stages and then some faster flowing stuff, so, providing Sam and I gel well straight up, we should be able to have a great event.”

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