With an added 50 percent point loading on offer in 2016, recognising the status and length of the event, competition will be fierce across the weekend with teams out to take the all important advantage into the rest of the season.
2015 WARC Champions Garry Whittle/Stephen Vass will lead the charge in the 4WD class but will face a serious challenge from the 2015 Quit Forest Rally WARC victors Brad Markovic/Glenn Macneal, home-town favourite Tom Wilde and his co-driver Nick Clements, John O’Dowd/Philip Conneely and the return of past event winner Derek Reddie and his co-driver Warren Phillip-Clarke.
“Consistency was the key to us winning the Championship last year and we’re approaching this year the same, although I do think we will have to push a little harder this year, I’m expecting some more pace from the others,” Whittle said
“The Quit Forest Rally has always been my favourite event of the season but I’m really excited about the new bonus point system they have put in place for this year. In the past it has always been possible to win the Championship without performing strongly at Forest (Quit Forest Rally) but now I’m not sure crews will be able to recover from a poor showing there, it will make things interesting that’s for sure,” he continued.
Whittle has chosen to only contest the WARC component of the event, while competitors such as Markovic, Wilde and John O’Dowd will all be joining the ARC crews up the front of the field, a factor that could come into play when the final results are
“It will depend on the weather, if it’s wet I don’t think running further down the field will give us any advantage but if it’s dry then we should be really able to take advantage of the swept roads which will have an impact on the stage times we are able to produce,” Whittle said.
Busselton teenager Kody Reynolds, who made his WARC debut in 2015, will be hoping local support coupled with a new engine will see him finish near top of the field.
Last year’s WARC 2WD Champions Razvan Vlad/Daymon Nicoli are the front runners in the 2WD class with the crews of Alex/Lisa White, Shane Harmer/Nicholas Anyan, Andrew/Caity Macdonald and Greg/Deeann Flood ready to pounce on any opportunity to take maximum points for the event.
Running along shorter stages, and only contesting one day of the Quit Forest Rally a field of 16 crews will tackle the Clubman Cup with 2015 Quit Forest Rally victors Jason and Paul and Jason Lowther, Dene Courtis/Robert King, Kiel Douglas/Ashley Burton and Andrew and Stewart Percival all in with a shot of taking the event win.