This year’s opening round of the Motorsport Australia Rally Championship (ARC) will take on a new look, thanks to the support of ŠKODA and Buckby Motors.
To be known as Buckby ŠKODA Rally Launceston, competitors, crews and fans will head to Tasmania to begin one of the most highly anticipated rally seasons in recent years.
ŠKODA has a strong rally pedigree, with the ŠKODA FABIA R5 a regular feature in both the Australian Championship as well as the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) in recent times.
The ŠKODA R5 was the vehicle of choice for Supercars driver Shane van Gisbergen in his ARC debut in 2022, as well as during his WRC debut in New Zealand.
In 2018, Eli Evans also won the ARC behind the wheel of the reliable ŠKODA FABIA R5 throughout the majority his Championship season.
Buckby Motors Director Ben Newman said ŠKODA and Buckby Motors were proud to be supporting the event in 2023.
“This year’s Buckby ŠKODA Rally Launceston will certainly be the perfect start to the ARC season and Tasmania will be eager to showcase its amazing gravel rally stages in March,” Newman said.
“As someone who competed in the 2022 event, it was a fantastic rally that really offered plenty of challenges and excitement for both competitors and fans alike. We can’t wait for it to return to our wonderful city in March.”
Motorsport Australia CEO Eugene Arocca thanked ŠKODA and Buckby Motors for its support.
“To Ben and the team at Buckby Motors, we are proud to be in partnership with you for the 2023 Buckby ŠKODA Rally Launceston,” Arocca said.
“A March event will provide something very different for officials, fans, competitors and teams, given we’ve usually hosted this round in June or July.
“We love coming to Tasmania for events and are thrilled to be starting the Championship in the City of Launceston.
“The ARC is going from strength to strength and Buckby ŠKODA Rally Launceston is a terrific way to start our national rally season in March.”
Buckby ŠKODA Rally Launceston was a popular addition to the ARC calendar in 2022, using a mix of stages across the north of Tasmania.
Harry Bates and stand-in co-driver Coral Taylor won the 2022 event, with two heat wins and the fastest time in the EROAD Power Stage to secure maximum points for the weekend.
This year’s event will see competitors tackle 197 competitive kilometres, with the service park to be based in the heart of the City of Launceston, Inveresk.
Once again, all spectating will be free across the weekend, including access to the service park where fans can see all the cars up close and meet the wide range of competitors taking part in Skoda Rally Launceston.
The event will also include a state component, with the Tasmanian Rally Championship to feature at the event.
This year’s Buckby ŠKODA Rally Launceston will be held on 24-26 March in Launceston.
Spectator information and other key details about the rally will be available in the coming weeks.