RSEA Safety Motorsport Australia Rally Championship (ARC) regular Luke Anear headlines a talented entry list eager for next month’s TARGA Great Barrier Reef.
Behind the wheel of his newly modified Mercedes GTR alongside regular co-driver Andy Sarandis, the duo will be looking to claim their first major trophy since joining the Motorsport Australia TARGA Championship in 2018.
The pair has come close to winning in recent events and have challenged for outright victories but have been unable to hold their pace or have been forced to retire prematurely.
With the newest season of Australia’s premier tarmac rally championship beginning next month, Anear believes he is in a good spot to win the event, despite Angus Kennard being one of the favourites.
“I think TARGA Great Barrier Reef is a great event because the community gets behind it and there is a lot of buzz and positive energy during the event,” Anear said.
“As it’s in North Queensland, there is always good weather and it almost feels a bit like a tropical holiday where we get to race the cars on some fantastic roads.
“In terms of where I sit for a result, it will of course be a challenging event, but I always believe that I have a chance of winning and this year is no different.
“Angus (Kennard) of course is a tough competitor who is highly consistent with his great car. I don’t expect us to win but we’ll give it our best go and see what happens.
“We’ve made some adjustments on the car. Most notably, we have improved the aero, as well as the exhaust which has helped the performance a little bit, but we did it because people told us it was too quiet, so it sounds like a real race car now.”
With national events few and far between this year due to ongoing border restrictions, it’s been difficult for competitors to get lots of seat time.
While running in TARGA events keeps him busy, Anear still has his eyes firmly set on one day challenging for some ARC silverware on his own.
And although the lack of events has prevented Anear and Sarandis from spending more time together in their Ford Fiesta R5, the New South Welshman was looking forward to his future in the sport.
“I think the ARC for us is just a matter of spending more time in the car,” Anear said.
“We have our own notes system that Andy and I have been working on and it’s going to be a good system once we can fully commit to it.
“It’s an extra level of complexity, so we need to do as many events as we can and continue developing it which will hopefully see us get some results. But it depends on what happens between now and the end of the year.
“I think Lewis and Harry (Bates) have been the two to beat in recent times. I think they have a lot of experience, but hopefully by next year I can match Lewis and challenge Harry.
“It’s really good for sport to have more contenders for the championship. It’s a bit harder for me as it’s more part time, but I am really enjoying my time in the ARC.”
Anear and Sarandis will be contesting the TARGA Great Barrier Reef around North Queensland on 3-5 September.