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Expect faster stage times from WA drivers Tom Wilde and Nicholas Box when they compete in round four of the East Coast Bullbars Australian Rally Championship (ARC), the International Rally of Queensland (IROQ), next month.

Both drivers have made significant improvements to their cars ahead of the event, which marks the start of the second half of the ARC calendar, and are optimistic about their chances.

Wilde said Racetorque who prepare his and teammate Scott Pedder’s Renault Clios had worked hard to get more horsepower out of the engines.

“We have got to a point with the cars that we can't drive them much quicker so we looked at where we were getting beaten,” Wilde said.

The engines of the cars have been left the same as the international R3 class which is more restrictive than the Australian G2 spec cars but Wilde said ‘big upgrades’ should bring the Clios a lot closer to the power of the Honda and Mazda.

Wilde, who turns 26 on the final day of IROQ, is in third place on the ARC leader board behind Eli Evans who competes in a Honda Jazz G2 and Pedder. While he’s pleased with his position he believes it’s time to push harder.

“I think things may be stirred up a little in Queensland,” Wilde said.

“With the changes to the cars, Scott will certainly be more of a chance of beating Eli and with a bit of luck I can get up there in the mix also.”

IROQ is widely regarded as one of the more demanding ARC events and fellow West Aussie Nicholas Box is looking forward to finally showing how competitive his Nissan 370Z can be.
Box tested new improvements to the car, including a new gearbox shifter, by competing in WA Rally Championship event the Experts Cup on Saturday.

While he was unable to finish the local rally because of brake issues, it gave his team a chance to fine tune the Nissan’s new suspension setup. The team also plans to conduct more tests in Queensland before IROQ.

Box said he was looking forward to attacking the event with more confidence this year. Last year he recorded a DNF after mechanical problems, but he also admits his head wasn’t in the game.
IROQ 2012 was the first event Box had competed in after sustaining a broken elbow in a bad crash at WA’s Quit Forest Rally.

“I’m looking forward to it going into the event feeling more ‘normal’,” he said.

Also representing WA at IROQ is co-driver Ben Searcy who’ll again compete with Steve Mackenzie in a Ford Fiesta. The pair is ninth on the point score.

IROQ is also round three of the FIA Asia Pacific Championship, which is led by Indian driver Gurav Gill and former West Aussie Glenn Macneall, and a part of the Queensland Rally Championship.

The rally has its headquarters in Caloundra on the Sunshine Coast and covers 240 kilometres around Imbil.

It kicks off on Friday July 12 with a night-time Power Stage at Nambour Showgrounds where ARC crews will compete for bonus points towards the championship.

Photo: Andrew Kilburn

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