When the International Rally of Queensland kicks off one driver hoping for a spectacularly uneventful weekend will be Tom Wilde. The West Australian, who progressed into the APRC this year following two years in the Australian Rally Championship, has had a troubled opening pair of rounds overseas.

“It’s definitely been interesting,” said Wilde of the events he’s contested in New Zealand and New Caledonia. “It’s probably not been as good a start to the year as I’d hoped for. So I’m hoping for a much better result in Queensland.”
Electrical problems in his two-wheel drive Renault Clio hampered Wilde in New Zealand, although he managed to steer home to fourth outright. While in New Caledonia, in exceptionally slippery conditions, Wilde admitted he overcooked a corner and damaged the car beyond repair.
“I lost the backend on a tight, very slippery section. I smashed a rock which smashed the alternator, and despite trying everything we just couldn’t get the car going again,” Tom explained.
“I think I learnt a very valuable lesson in New Caledonia. I learnt that on these sorts of endurance style events consistency is the biggest thing, and that one mistake can be extremely costly.”
Wilde has contested the International Rally of Queensland twice before, and said he feels confident heading to the forestry roads of the Sunshine Coast.
“Queensland is always a tough event, although having competed in New Caledonia now I’ve probably got a different perspective of what rough roads really look like. In comparison to New Caledonia, Queensland is a smooth rally!”
“I’m in a two-wheel drive car, so I’m always mindful of respecting the car through the really rough bits. On the all other sections I’m going to be flat out to try to get as close to the outright cars as possible.”
With only two front-wheel drive cars contesting the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship, Wilde and Kiwi Mike Young in a Proton Satria, Tom said he’s always looking at the times of the outright cars.
“I definitely check out the times of the Skoda’s at the end of every stage to see how we went. It’s been good competing against Mark Pedder too, sure he’s in a turbo, four-wheel drive but we can often get close or even better than his times,” Tom said.
“Queensland is probably the closest opportunity I’m going to get to set times close to the outright Skoda’s, but only if it stays dry. But I also have to stay focused on the 2WD Championship and that means staying ahead of Mike Young and scoring more points.”
Wilde will have the added challenge in Queensland of a new co-driver after long-time navigator Bill Hayes decided to focus more on his business in Western Australia. “I’ll be joined by Anthony McLaughlin in Queensland, and being a local he has plenty of experience on those roads, so that’ll be a huge help.”
“I’m sad to see Bill go, but it’s something we’ve been talking about for a while and I respect his decision. He’s been a massive help in my career and I thank him for everything he’s done to help me out,” added Wilde.

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