The announcement opens up the possibility to see cars like Audi Quattro’s, P6 PRC 4WD cars, VR-4 Galants, Lancers and Subaru Liberty’s to compete in Australia’s leading rally championship.
The Driver and Co-driver attaining the highest point score amongst all eligible 2WD vehicles shall be the winner of the Australian 2WD Classic Rally Challenge and the Driver and Co-driver attaining the highest point score amongst all eligible 4WD vehicles shall be the winner of the Australian 4WD Classic Rally Challenge, 2 fantastic awards for competitors.
In an effort to contain costs for Classic and PRC competitors, only the best three ARC events shall be counted in determining the winners of each series.
The Driver and Co-driver with the most stage wins amongst all eligible Classic vehicles over all of the stages of each event (excluding any times allocated under NRC Article 6.9) in both 2WD & 4WD shall be allocated one additional point.
If the number of stage wins is equal, then the fastest time obtained on the first special stage (not being a Super Special stage) shall be used to break the tie. If this time is equal then each of the subsequent stages shall be taken into account until the tie is broken.
These changes come as welcome news to the classic rally scene as classics are now the largest group of rallyists in gravel rallying.
Primarily, many classic crews have supported events close to home to contain costs and with only three rounds counting towards the challenge outcome crews can budget to compete and provide the entertainment to those that many tramp through the forests to spectate.
Classic Rallying has enjoyed strong growth in Australia, with many older cars resurrected from sheds, rebuilds and news cars built. More BDG Escorts regularly compete than in the golden era of classic rallying in the late 70’s early 80’s. Not only have classic cars been resurrected, but so have their drivers. Cars are used in many regional and state events.
Legendary drivers like Ross Dunkerton,70, is a 5 times ARC Champion and whilst driving a modern Subaru in the first round of the Kumho ARC in Perth later this month is more regularly seen behind the wheel of his Classic Datsun 1600 in events. Dunkerton, one of the movers and shakers behind the classic rally resurgence has worked along with others to see classics run with the ARC.
The Otago Classic rally in New Zealand proves that world class drivers are interested driving classic cars and many WRC drivers also own classic cars and compete in them regularly.
With the expanded option allowing post classic 4WD PRC cars to compete in the classic Challenge, new opportunity will presented for spectators to see the transitional cars that ended the 2WD era.
Cars that comply with part C4 of the CAMS Classic regs are very welcome and encouraged to compete in the Kumho Classic Challenge. With changes recommended by the Classic advisory group to the Australian Rally Commission for last year combined with this new initiative, there is no reason or little doubt that spectators should expect to be treated to awesome action by some on the most iconic rally cars that have ever been built, driven by equally legendary drivers from rallying, many of which are the heroes of current day ARC competitors.
Classic cars have created burned in images for many in our sport. Ari Vatenen in the Castrol Rally, Bjorn Waldegaard in the Southern Cross, Greg Carr in the Alpine Rally, Malcolm Wilson in the 2GO Rally and more and too many to name.
Kids, sitting in front of TV’s and projector screens watching these legends manhandle brutal cars in events, sliding at impossible angles around slippery roads have now grown up and now try to emulate those days. How many kids watched “40 split seconds” and said to themselves, “I will do that one day.
Whilst the cars and the helmets and the gearboxes are different, that gut feeling you get at the start of the stage is still the same and the reason sometimes for that strange feeling is that maybe your hero was in your exact place at the start line moments ago. This is where all the talk stops: to compete with your heroes, challenging yourself in the process on every corner and every straight is the very DNA of rallying and that’s why so many compete.
The changes made by the team at the ARC and the Commission to allow more cars to compete will give just a few more those jitters when they line up at the start control for the next round of the Kumho Australian Rally Championship. The Quit Forest Rally is the first round in Perth on 22-24 April.