Shamrock Motorsport’s Richie Dalton believes the upcoming state round at AMH Automotive Rally of the Bay will serve as an important event for his 2021 RSEA Safety Motorsport Australia Rally Championship (ARC) campaign.
It’s been a rough start to the season for Dalton who sits in 10th position after a solid result in Queensland helped him recover from a disappointing opening round in Canberra.
While life in his new Neal Bates Motorsport prepared Toyota Yaris AP4 hasn’t been all that he would have hoped for, the Irish native now gets a chance to continue his development in the car at an event he knows well.
Dalton has been quite successful in Batemans Bay as of late with consecutive outright victories coming in both 2018 and 2019 before Toyota Gazoo Racing Australia’s Harry Bates won last year’s event.
The event has continued to go from strength to strength in previous years and while Dalton was once one of the only high-profile names to be running, the Motorsport Australia NSW Rally Championship event now attracts some of the biggest names in the country.
With a number of ARC crews locked into the event which doubles as an ARC promotional round, Dalton was looking forward to competing against a strong field and using the event to get more seat time in the Yaris ahead of Rally Gippsland in August.
“I am really looking forward to doing this event. It’s one of the top priorities on my to-do list every year,” Dalton said.
“For me, the event is very similar to that of Rally Australia on the Coffs Coast. The fast-flowing roads are really good, although it’s not as tricky and frustrating. There is a good rhythm and good groove and it’s a great atmosphere.
“I have already done a recce of the place and the roads are in fantastic condition because there has been a lot of rain. Obviously, it’s a little shorter because there have been some roads that have been damaged too much, but the roads they have fixed are just great.
“As for the car, I’m starting to feel good in it. It’s an unbelievable ride and I just need to build my understanding for how to get the maximum out of it. At an event where I am quite comfortable, I am confident I can get some extra pace out of it.
“I am going to try and win Rally of the Bay and to do that I need to sit down and study it as much as I can. I have my work cut out for me and if I can improve speed around corners, then I should be far more competitive in Victoria later this year.”
The AMH Automotive Rally of the Bay will see crews complete two passes of four different stages around the forests of Batemans Bay on 17 July.
Feature Photo: CH Images