Almighty battle in store for ARC opener

The RSEA Safety Motorsport Australia Rally Championship’s (ARC) opening round will feature a bumper field of 22-crews taking on the Netier National Capital Rally.

With stages located around the Tidbinbilla and Kowen Forests in Canberra, a monster field featuring Australia’s best rally drivers will do battle on 12 stages and notch up 120 competitive kilometres across the weekend over two days.

Headlining the impressive field is reigning Champions Toyota Gazoo Racing Australia Harry Bates and John McCarthy, with the duo to begin their title defence behind the wheel of the Toyota Yaris AP4.

Familiar faces including Toyota Gazoo Racing Australia teammates Lewis Bates and Anthony McLoughlin, AGI Sport’s Luke Anear and Andy Sarandis and Truck Wholesale WA’s John O’Dowd and Toni Feaver – the latter two of which will be running an R5 – will also be eager to get their season off to the best possible start.

Click here to view the full ARC entry list. (Note: NSW Championship entry list will be available soon).

There will be some big names returning for the season opener in the nation’s capital with 2017 ARC champion Nathan Quinn making his long-awaited return to the championship alongside Ray Winwood-Smith in the Midstate Freight-prepared Ford Fiesta G4.

Also running G4s are the two Up and Go crews in Justin Dowel and Dale Moscatt in the Hyundai i20 and feel-good story Troy Dowel with Bernie Webb as his co-driver, as well as the popular JJ Hatton and Nathan Long for J-Sport.

Running the third R5 in the field will be Lobster Shack Tasmania’s Marcus Walkem and Steve Glenney in the Hyundai i20, while White Wolf Racing’s Tom Clarke and Ryan Preston are running in their first ARC round since the corresponding event in 2019.

There will also be a number of ARC debutants, including Japanese international Satoshi Imai with New Zealander Jason Farmer by his side, South Australian’s Rick Powell and Karien Heimsohn in the Nisscare Subaru WRX and Glendun Group’s Cahal Carey and Ronnie Bustard in a Mitsubishi Evo X.

As part of some exciting changes to the ARC in 2020 is the introduction of a number of new classes, including ARC2, ARC3 and ARC 4 – along with a ‘masters’ and ‘junior’ competition class.

Headlining the ARC3 field will be Cowra Machinery Company’s Adam Kaplan and Aleshia Penney ready for a fresh assault on the ARC in their Mazda RX7, while Café Fez Myrtleford’s Jason Lennane and Amanda Ramia and MG Plasterers’s Kevin Raedel and Doug Fernie will all be eager to get their ARC3 campaigns off to a strong start.

Click here to view the supplementary regulations.

A number of rookie crews including local outfit Peter Dimmock and Leigh Brimson-Pierce for Trailer Camper Australia, Tan Lye Wee and Timothy Mills for Coast Cycles – Ktec Rallye and Elig Brakes Australia’s Aaron Casmiri and Adriana Pallister will all be in action.

Kosciuszko Automotive’s Andrew Penny and Rhys Llewellyn will be one of the experienced national crews co-entered in the MTA Motorsport Australia New South Wales Rally Championship, which is also holding its first round of 2020.

Also doing double duties is Muscle Car Performance Mufflers’ Stephen Mee and Russell Hannah and Australian teenager Taylor Gill, who will make his maiden ARC appearance in with Peter Harris in the /JAX Tyres Greenhills Subaru WRX.

State entries remain open with interested crews wanting to run in the MTA Motorsport Australia New South Wales Rally Championship having until Wednesday 11 March to enter.

Click here to enter the 2020 Netier National Capital Rally.

The Netier National Capital Rally takes place in and around Canberra’s Tidbinbilla and Kowen Forests on 21-22 March.