2WD battle to continue in Gympie

The ARC 2WD Cup is preparing for a fierce battle ahead of this month’s Accent Benchtops Rally Queensland event.

Two regulars and a local driver make up the 2WD field for the third round of the Bosch Motorsport Australia Rally Championship season, with Josh Wiedman and Ben Hayes to continue their intriguing battle that showed promising signs in Western Australia.

There was very little splitting the two in May’s Make Smoking History Forest Rally, with Hayes and co-driver Cathy Hayes guiding their Subaru BRZ to a runner-up in Heat 1, while Wiedman and Nick Reid took out the Heat 2 win over the Hayes – a solid recovery considering the Ford Fiesta driver had issues over the first two days of competition.

A pair of P2s in WA saw Hayes walk away with the outright round victory and a hefty bag of points to extend his lead at the top of the ARC 2WD Cup standings, while Wiedman notched up his first points for his 2023 campaign, giving him plenty of confidence for his home round.

Of course, in the opening Heat of the Forest Rally, both crews fell short of the local driver in Todd Payne – giving the third driver in this month’s round some hope of producing a solid result.

Photos: Dakar Press Team Australia

Rounding out the 2WD field will be Tim Collingwood and Kelvin O’Shea in a Honda Civic Type R, with O’Shea filling in for Collingwood’s regular co-driver Greg McAndrew who is unable to attend.

A highly experienced rally driver, especially on the roads of Queensland, Collingwood was hopeful of finishing the rally and using his knowledge to get a good result.

“I have only managed to get one rally weekend under my belt this year, so I am definitely looking forward to Rally Queensland,” Collingwood said.

“It’s a shame that Greg is unable to come, so the switch with Kelvin should be interesting, as I never driven with him before.

“It’s business as usual regardless because we are using Smoothline Stage Notes, which Kelvin has used before, plus he has lots of experience as a co-driver, so I am confident.

“We’re also not driving for sheep stations – I am just focused on learning the car and getting to the end of the rally – I’d love to get a good result though as I am only doing Queensland and Canberra later this year.

“I don’t know much about the other two competitors, but I know their cars are quick and they have talent – my advantage would be that I have driven all the Imbil roads hundreds of times over the past three decades, so I should be able to finish and finish well, which is our aim.”

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The Accent Benchtops Rally Queensland takes place in Gympie on 22-23 July.