It’s been a long time between rallies for Stephen Mee, who will make a highly anticipated return at this weekend’s Adelaide Hills Rally.
Despite having not been behind the wheel for more than 18 months, the 2017 ARC2 champion is not afraid about having lost touch with the sport.
“It’s a long time coming and we are really excited to finally come back into rallying,” Mee said.
“It’s been 18 months since our last event which was here in South Australia where we destroyed a gear box again.
“We didn’t want to do a half baked effort, we wanted to make sure what we had in the car was going to work and we even tried to make Ballarat but we didn’t make it in time.
“At this point, I just want to get into it and get a feel for the car and then when we can, we will really have a crack but I am just really itching to get out there again.
“We are not going to go out there this weekend with the intention of blazing at blistering pace. But our speed will pick up over the weekend.”
Mee will be eager to get a solid run under his belt, with the South Australian having major set backs with broken gearboxes or a lack of funding constantly delaying the privateer into action.
However with the car in the workshop for more than 12 months under the helpful eye of Neil Trama, as well as Mee seeking help from Neal Bates Motorsport and Toyota Gazoo Racing for a world class gearbox, he said the car was ready to go with plenty of fresh components.
“The drive in this car is totally different. It will be a different car to drive than the one I drove in 2017,” Mee added.
“We have had an engine cam update thanks to Neil Trama as well as a proper gear box now which will help the car get up to speed quite quickly.
“This new gearbox just keeps the engine in the rev range and we can accelerate much faster. That’s the big change and I think that is where events are won – getting to that speed quickly.
“We have a test on Friday and this will give us a idea on what it does and how it works, as well as getting used to the engine and gearbox combination.
“We are just looking forward to getting out there and will see how we go this weekend.”
The Adelaide Hills Rally takes place in South Australia on 20-22 September.