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Former ARC regular Ryan Smart has kept a pretty low profile in recent years, but he’s back in his Datsun for this weekend’s International Rally of Queensland after admitting that he can’t stand sitting at home when he knows a rally is on in his backyard.
 

“I really can’t wait!” he beamed. “It’s my local event, it’s an Australian Championship and an Asia-Pacific Round, so who wouldn’t pull out all the stops to be there.”
 
Smart, the 2011 Australian Rally Championship runner-up, competed at Rally Queensland and Rally Australia last year, with the Sunshine Coast resident confirming that his local outing this weekend will be his one and only for the 2014 season.
 
“It’ll be great to run again in Queensland but that may well be it for me this year,” said Smart. “I don’t like sitting out, I can’t stand sitting at home!”
 
While not competing regularly Ryan hasn’t been far away from the action, helping girlfriend Kylie Evans, sister of Eli and Simon, with her rallying career. “It’s been great to be able to help Kylie out, that’s something I’ve really enjoyed doing.”
 
At the International Rally of Queensland Smart will team with fellow Datsun driver Jack Monkhouse, the pair pooling resources to run their identical 180B SSS’s.
 
“Jack and I will be running together which will be a lot of fun, I think the spectators will really enjoy the sideways action of the old Datsun’s,” Smart stated. “Last year I had a trouble free run in Queensland and managed to finish second behind Neal Bates, so I’ll be aiming to do the same this year as well.”
 
So will Smart be aiming to challenge Bates? “The reality is that if we’re two seconds per kilometre slower than Neal, and even then that’s actually doing an amazing job. We just can’t expect to beat Neal in a straight out fight, but if he has problems then I hope we can be there to clean up.”
 
Longer term Smart is hoping to follow in Bates’ footsteps and compete at the Otago Rally in New Zealand, albeit the 2016 edition of the event. “We’re building a Datsun Stanza to run in Otago. It’s a long term project, so even if it’s not up and running by this time next year I won’t be too worried.”
 
“Otago looks to be an amazing event, and if I can compete there I wanted to do it in a really good car like a Stanza. It’s a rally that’s been on my list for a while and if I only get to do it just that once I’ll still be very happy!” Ryan said.

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