Tarmac round for 2007 ARC?
There is a distinct possibility that a tarmac rally could form part of the Australian Rally Championship in 2007, although no event is currently at the forefront of consideration by the Australian Rally Commission.
According to CAMS Rally Manager, Campbell Andrea, any tarmac event would be subject to ARCom determining if the potential special stage average speeds were within acceptable tolerances which, for an ARC round, would be quite low.
“Yes, there is a possibility of a tarmac round of the ARC, but it all depends on what interest is shown,” Andrea told RallySport Magazine.
There has been talk of a tarmac rally being added to the ARC for some time, with events in Tasmania, South Australia and New South Wales’ Hunter Valley all being mentioned.
But RallySport Magazine have learned of a new tarmac rally currently being planned in the ACT which, it is believed, would be a three-day event based in Canberra. Although the event is still in the early planning stages, RallySport Magazine understands that preliminary discussions have already taken place with the ACT Government.
This week’s call by ARCom seeking expressions of interest in running a round of the Australian Rally Championship is an unprecedented move, and seems to stem from the fact that two of the championship’s events, the Rally of Canberra and the Subaru Safari Tasmania, are in serious danger of not running in 2007.
Previously ARCom’s stance has been that each state had a round of the ARC, but this week’s press releases has opened up the playing field, stating that there is no reason why a state can’t have more than one qualifying round.
There was also once a directive that ARC rounds must be based out of a capital city, which saw the popular Coffs Harbour Rally dropped from the championship in 2001 – a decision that lead Toyota driver Neal Bates said he was “totally appalled by”. But Campbell Andrea denies there has been a change in ARCom policy.
“ARCom are seeing what interest there is to run an ARC event and therefore to be in a position to consider all possible options. There is no general ‘change in thinking’,” Andrea said.
The release also said that events not previously in the championship may be required to run a trial event before the end of 2006, giving would-be directing teams just three months to get their event up and running.
But Andrea says that depends on a number of factors, including whether the event and/or organizer has a solid track record.
“ Yes, for some events it would be difficult to have them run in 2006 for 2007, but there may also be a longer term opportunity, perhaps a 2007 trial event for 2008 inclusion in the championship,” he said.
Caption: Neal Bates at the Coffs Harbour round of the ARC in his Corolla World Rally Car.
Photo: Sport The Library