V8 Supercar driver to contest Rally Queensland
- 12th May 2012, 6:00pm
Slade, driver of the Lucky 7 Ford Falcon for Stone Brothers Racing, will tackle round three of the Australian Side-by-Side Rally Challenge on the narrow and winding forestry tracks of the Mary Valley in a new factory-entered Polaris RZR XP.
The field of Side-by-Side all-terrain racers will be part of massive weekend of rally action on 25-27 May, also featuring rounds of the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship, Bosch Australian Rally Championship, Australian Classic Rally Series and Queensland Rally Championship.
The 26-year-old Slade currently is eighth in the V8 Supercar standings and enjoying a strong season, but that may count for little as he suits up for the completely unfamiliar challenge of racing a 900 c.c. all-wheel drive machine with minimal bodywork and a co-driver calling directions around the 173 kilometre bush course.
“It looks like a hell of a lot fun. The only other thing I have driven on dirt is a sprint car in Adelaide a couple of years ago, but I love racing in general and I’m looking forward to being involved in the whole event,” he said.
“The Polaris RZR is quite a fast machine. I’ve watched a lot of footage from the last round in Western Australia and they look quite fun.
“I guess the biggest difference is going to be understanding how a rally runs – but I’ll lay it all on my co-driver.”
In Queensland, Slade will join Polaris Racing’s regular driver and rally legend Cody Crocker, winner of six Asia Pacific Rally Championships for Subaru.
“I don’t think you could have a better person to have as your teammate than Cody. I’ve followed him for many years and he’s amazing,” he said.
“That’s the biggest plus for me, to have his help with all aspects of the event.”
The pair’s main rivals will include former World Rally Championship Hyundai factory driver Michael Guest, in a Can-Am Commander.
The Australian Side-by-Side Rally Challenge is a new motorsport competition in 2012 that follows the huge growth of Side-by-Side racing in North America, where tens of thousands of machines are sold every year.
It provides relatively inexpensive but exciting motorsport, with the racing vehicles capable of accelerating to 100 kmh in less than five seconds and able to jump impressive distances over crests due to their long suspension travel.
Tickets for the Brakes Direct International Rally of Queensland are on sale now, priced from $20 on-line at www.rallyqueensland.com.au or over the counter at the events centre in Caloundra.
The major spectator attraction will be the Main Event super special stage at Caloundra Aerodrome on Saturday night, while viewing on classic gravel stages will be available at the BP Ultimate stage at Pomona and Imbil Forest on Saturday and Sunday.
Free attractions include the Start your Engine launch party at Kings Beach, Caloundra, on Friday night, a service stopover at Kenilworth on Saturday morning and the Hella Service Park at Imbil throughout the weekend.
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