Last year’s Western Australian Rally Champions Tom and Nerralie Wilde will spend a training day with former World Rally Championship driver and rallying legend Alister McRae on Friday in Nannup.

Sponsored by the WA Car Club, the day comes as the self-taught Wilde’s prepare to compete at Rally Australia in the junior challenge in September.

Tom, ably assisted by sister Nerralie, won the WARC title last year at the age of 23, the youngest ever driver to take the championship in the 52 years it has been running. After contesting the Quit Forest Rally in April, the pair elected to sit out the rest of local WA rallies this year to focus on Rally Australia.

“We did the Forest rally to try and qualify [for the junior challenge] and the plan was that if we didn’t qualify we would do South Australia,” Tom Wilde said.

“From there we have just been saving up and now we’re doing the test day with Alister and we’ll also do a bit more of our own testing,” he said.

Wilde thanked the WA Car Club for recognising their potential by sponsoring the training day and hopes to take as much from the opportunity as possible.

“Because I have never been taught any rally driving ... I am just hoping to pick up the faster lines into corners, just reading the roads better and writing pace notes,” Wilde said.

“I think it is good having the WA Car Club behind us and recognising the potential in us. It’s something that is good for them to do and it’s good for me as well,” Wilde said.

“Really I am hoping to get a drive with a manufacturer out of it, hopefully in the next couple of years – that is my goal anyway.”

Alister McRae agreed and said it was good that young local WA talent are doing well in the local rallying scene and trying to push for a place in the upper echelons of the sport.

“Obviously, anyone that can win a category in the championship is going extremely well and it’s good to see that young drivers are going well,” McRae started. “It’s a very difficult and expensive sport to get into and get up the ladder so it’s good to see that there are some local guys who are managing to try and do that.”

“I’ve had more than 20 years experience now and rallying up to the WRC level so we can absolutely try and help out with some of that and fast track some of the learning process for them,” he said.

McRae hopes to instil some of his rallying knowledge and wisdom in the young stars and give them a better understanding of their car and how to set it up for maximum performance.

“It’s not just about driving the car you obviously have the pace note side of it as well, understanding the setup of the car; whether it be the suspension or differentials,” he said. “It takes a long time to learn all that so basically when I run training days it’s just a matter of trying to get as much of that information across and fast track the learning process.”

“Hopefully the guys can take that on board and benefit from it in the driving.”

The WA Car Club hope that the tuition from McRae will increase the Wilde’s chances of winning the junior challenge at Rally Australia in September and will look to sponsor more junior development in the future.

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