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The biggest field in at least a decade has been amassed for round one of the Tasmanian Rally Championship this weekend.
 

2016 champion, Keith Ablitt, is not on the start list for round one this weekend. (Photo: Rick Burt)The Nicholas Stages Rally, based from the small town of Mathinna, will host 31 rally cars on Saturday. Run by the 500 Car Club it utilises 10 stages in the surrounding forestry plantations.
 
Leading the field away will be Eddie Maguire and Mike Potter in their rapid Mitsubishi Lancer Evo. IX. Having won the final round in 2016, held in the same region, Maguire will go into the rally the favourite.

Kurt Wylie returns fresh from a good result at the ARC Eureka Rally in his Subaru Impreza WRX STI with new co-driver Jobe Sims; whilst father Andrew Wylie will run a similar car with Keegan Buckley.

The event has also been buoyed by the return of two front running competitors. Triple Tasmanian champion Jamie Vandenberg returns to the series with his Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX, while former ARC runner Mark Butcher will debut his new Subaru.

Unfortunately, defending champion Keith Abblitt will miss the event.
 
In two wheel drive, the field is smaller than normal, but full of quality. Aidan Peterson and Brent Rogers will both run highly developed Daihatsu Charades, and will be an intriguing battle.

Mark Kyle and Daniel Davies have hopefully cured the reliability issues of their Datsun 1600 and the former Tasmanian two wheel drive champion will be a threat to the front wheel drives.
 
A new addition to the series is the Subaru Challenge. 12 Subaru Impreza RS cars have been prepared for the first round, featuring returning and new crews alike; with some Targa crews signing up for their first test on the dirt.
 
The Tasmanian Rally Championship has announced its major sponsors for 2017. Dunlop and Motul have come on board to support the overall championship.

Northern Tasmanian Subaru dealer, Neil Buckby Motors, are sponsoring the inaugural Subaru Challenge.

The first car will leave the Mathinna Recreation Ground at 10:00am.

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