Following a near faultless test, Luke Anear has confirmed his impressive Ford Fiesta R5 will debut at the Subaru Rally Tasmania.
The AGI Sport sponsored and Peter Nunn Motorsport prepared machine was put through its paces in the forests of Tasmania this week, ahead of the upcoming third round of the CAMS Australian Rally Championship (ARC).
Anear said driving the car was an experience like no other.
“It is a purpose built rally car, built from the ground up by M-Sport in the UK and the team has put years of development work in the World Rally Championship which has benefited the R5 car, so it’s fair to say that it’s a very different beast to my 2009 Subaru STI,” Anear said.
Making the move from the older Subaru meant there was plenty of new things to learn for both team and driver, but ultimately Anear said it was an exciting opportunity for all involved. M-Sport will also have a presence in Tasmania as Anear debuts the car competitively in the 21-23 June event.
“The car arrived with an encyclopaedia of manuals and technical books, so the team at Pete Nunn Motorsport are studying them each night in order to learn the car. M-Sport are sending a senior engineer from England for the Tasmania round, which will help us get the car setup,” Anear added.
“There is a lot for me to adjust to being left hand drive and there’s buttons all over the place that I’m still learning, but overall I felt very comfortable.
“The brakes are incredible and I’m braking too early compared to where I would brake in the Subaru, but that will come with time.
“The suspension has so much travel that it’s like riding on a magic carpet. The car responds to inputs incredibly well and maintains its composure over terrain that the Subaru would have bounced through. The Subaru was a fantastic car to start in and it’s good to see it going to a competitive driver in Ivan Register in the Victorian Rally Championship.”
With co-driver Steve Glenney having experienced the speedy attributes of the Skoda Fabia R5 during his win at last year’s Kennards Hire Rally Australia, Anear said his co-driver’s encouragement was another reason for changing to the new Fiesta.
“After Steve drove the Skoda R5 last year at Coffs Harbour, he said I would learn more and be safer if I moved to an R5 car, so that made the decision for me. It’s ended up being a lot more expensive than I expected, but I thought it would be good for the championship to see a Ford R5 car in Australia.”
Despite being in the faster spec car, Anear knows the competition in the ARC was tougher than ever, with Toyota Gazoo Racing’s Harry Bates leading the Championship after back-to-back wins in 2019.
“The Toyota AP4s are matching the Skoda R5 times from last year, the Toyota team has done a great job developing those cars along with Subaru and the engineering work that has gone into Molly Taylor’s car is exceptional, so Molly is quicker than ever.
“It’s shaping up to be an exciting season, with so many competitive cars in the hunt.”
Anear’s R5 won’t be the only R5 to feature in the ARC this year. Western Australian John O’Dowd drove a Racetorque Engineering prepared Skoda R5 in the opening round of the ARC, while Hayden Paddon has confirmed he will compete at the Eureka Rush Rally in a Hyundai i20 R5, owned by Marcus and Scott Walkem.
Subaru Rally Tasmania will be held in Launceston on 21-23 June. Spectating is free, including the Inveresk Super Special Stage on Friday night.