According to the Clerk of Course, this year’s Rally Tasmania will be one of the best ever.

Ross Tapper is one of the country’s most respected event managers, having overseen rallies, on both tarmac and gravel, in nearly every state around Australia.

He recently visited Burnie to sign off on the course for the 30th running of Rally Tasmania next February, and returned to Perth after three days a happy man.

“This is a really great course,” Tapper said.

“The Tasmanian roads are always fantastic, but the course makes the most of several of the state’s most iconic stages.

“The field gets to do Hellyer Gorge three times, and Savage River has been extended by over five kilometres in both directions.

“We also use three brilliant stages in the Cethana area on Sunday, and then finish off with the street stage at Burnie, which will pull in the big crowd.

“So I really couldn’t be happier with the way that has all come together.”

The field will attract cars in four classes - modern, classic, the Australian Rally Championship, and in the new Tour category.

A top field is once again expected to visit the north of Tasmania for the three-day event, which gets underway on Friday, February 26.

The opening day is relatively gentle on competitors, consisting of just three stages, ending with the first run through Hellyer Gorge.

Saturday sees a real test of driving skills.

“This is a really full-on day,” Tapper said. “It includes two runs over Hellyer and then the Savage River run. There just aren’t many better days of rallying anywhere in the world.

“I know that the Australian Rally Championship drivers really rate these roads in particular. They are used to gravel roads, and this is the only tarmac round in the series, so they are an incredible test.

“Savage River is over 30 kilometres each way, so you really have a chance to get into a groove and enjoy the road.

“Guys like Jim Richards, who have made these roads their own, are the real benchmark for the modern cars. The Classics is wide open. Not only are the roads fantastic for the competitors, the fans love to come out and watch. And the classic cars are always a favorite.”

Sunday is also a challenging day. The event heads south-east, taking in roads around Mt Roland, King Solomon and the Gogg Range. There is a morning break at Sheffield and lunch and car display will be in the main street of Railton.

The event concludes with two runs around the streets of Burnie. A crowd of around 4000 people is expected, with the added attraction of a Food and Wine Festival on the foreshore after the conclusion of the event.

Discounted entries for the 30th running of Rally Tasmania close on Friday December 18, with the official close of entries on February 5, 2010.
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