A new event on the ARC calendar, Eureka Rally will be the first outing for Subaru do Motorsport’s new All-Wheel Drive WRX STI, this year competing in the Production Rally Car (PRC) class, which allows less technical restrictions than the Group N Class pursued in 2016.
Piloting the WRX STI – prepared by Les Walkden Rallying - will be 2016 champions Molly Taylor and Bill Hayes.
Molly said: “We recently had a week of testing the new car down in Tasmania with the Les Walkden guys.
“They’ve put in a huge amount of hours to get the new car up and running and it was very exciting for all of us to get it out on the gravel for the first time.
“We’ve made quite a few changes to the car this year, so it was an important opportunity to test everything.
“Now that we will be running under the ‘PRC’ regulations, one of the things we have done is fit a sequential gearbox built by Pfitzner Performance Gearboxes.
“I felt a bit like a kid in a candy store! We had a great package in our Group N WRX STI last year, so it’s exciting to be able to build on this with the new car and continue our development.”
Molly added: “It’s great for our sport to have had such a close Championship battle last year and I still have to pinch myself to remind me it’s actually happened, but the hard work has already begun for this year and we’re now firmly focused on Ballarat, which, as a new ARC event, represents a significant challenge for all competitors.
“We’re unfamiliar with the character of the stages, which adds an extra element of excitement and demands our full concentration.”
The Eureka Rally has 54 entries and covers 10 stages on Saturday and a further eight on Sunday.
Among the Subaru team’s key competitors will be Eli Evans and Glen Weston, competing in a newly-built mini Cooper; and Harry Bates and John McCarthy in their Toyota Corolla S2000.