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Former Australian Rally Champion, Bob Watson, is looking into the possibility of running a Round Australia type event in September 2008, in the lead up to Rally Australia, which is moving to Queensland.

According to Watson, who is a previous Round Australia Trial director, the plan is to finish the Round Australia event on the Wednesday before Rally Australia so that competitors and others could then stay on to enjoy the World Championship event.

“It may be possible to negotiate special seating etc., for the Super Special stage of Rally Australia, and other benefits,” Watson told RallySport Magazine today.

The concept is to have a number of starting points around Australia, with separate semi-competitive touring events of roughly the same length taking crews to a central assembly point at Alice Springs.

“The required duration and length dictate that the event will not be ‘around Australia’ in the true sense, but will provide competitors with an event typical of the classic Round Australia events,” he added.

After a rest day in Alice Springs there would be a six or seven day special stage rally over outback tracks in the Northern Territory and Queensland to the finish. The total duration of the event would be 10-12 days, with a total distance (including the assembly stage) of approximately 9,000km.

Vehicle eligibility would be Historic and Classic rally cars as per CAMS regulations, with the addition of PRC cars up to 1985. Turbocharged and four-wheel drive vehicles would not be eligible.

“For the rally proper there would be a Challenge section with an easier course and times, as in the Mobil 1 Trial in 1995,” Watson said.

The concept has been discussed with Garry Connelly, Chairman of the Rally Australia organising committee, and was received favourably.

“There may be some synergies between the events, such as Round Australia competitors using Rally Australia special stages,” he added.

At this stage the entry fee is not known, but the intention is to keep it in the region of $5000-$6000.

Watson is seeking expressions of interest from people keen on participating in the event, so that he can proceed further with the planning of the event.

Several other members of the 1995 Round Australia Trial organising committee have also agreed to be involved in the proposed 2008 event.

Expressions of interest should be sent to Bob Watson, via email: bobwatso@bigpond.net.au

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