Top quality field for Rally Tasmania
- 17th February 2010, 8:40am
To be held from February 26 to 28, Rally Tasmania includes some of tarmac rallying's most popular stages, including Hellyer Gorge, Savage River and the exciting Burnie street stage.
The field for the Rally Tasmania modern competition (for cars built after 1981) is headed by three of the country's most successful tarmac rally drivers, all intent on winning the anniversary edition of the event.
Tony Quinn took out last year's rally in his Nissan GT-R and will be eager to repeat that performance, but he'll come under intense pressure from touring car legend Jim Richards (Porsche 911 GT2) and Steve Glenney (Subaru Impreza WRX STI).
Local hero, Jamie Vandenberg, can never be discounted in his Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IV, while young guns Klark Quinn (Nissan GT-R) and Brendan Reeves (Subaru Impreza WRX STI) will also be a big chance for a podium finish.
The modern competition entry list is dominated by Subarus, Nissans and Mitsubishis, with Richards' German Porsche the only real threat to the Japanese juggernaut.
Queenslander Keith Callinan will be the man to catch in the classic category (pre-1982 cars), provided his temperamental De Tomaso Pantera can last the distance.
The Porsches of Peter Eames and Roger Paterson will provide his biggest challenge over the event's 19 special stages.
The event is also the first round of the prestigious Australian Rally Championship (ARC), with three-time title winner Simon Evans leading the field away in his privately-entered Subaru Impreza WRX STI.
With no manufacturer entries in this year's ARC, Evans' biggest challenge for victory is expected to come from a brace of Mitsubishi Lancer Evolutions, headed by 2009 championship runner-up, Glen Raymond, in a brand new Evo X.
Former title front-runner, Scott Pedder, returns to the sport in a Lancer, while fellow Victorian Justin Dowel is hoping to improve on last year's fourth place in the title race.
Simon Evans' younger brother, Eli Evans, will make his debut in a front-wheel drive Honda Civic Type R, and could well be in contention if the weather is dry.
Entrants in the 30th Rally Tasmania will tackle 19 special stages covering a total competitive distance of 210 kilometres. Three stages on Friday afternoon will be followed by eight stages on both Saturday and Sunday.
The highlight for spectators will be two runs around the Burnie street stage on Sunday afternoon, the last two stages of the rally. This will be followed by a Food and Wine Festival on the Burnie foreshore.
For further information on Rally Tasmania visit the event website at www.rallytasmania.com.au
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