While the last round of the CAMS Australian Rally Championship, Subaru Rally Tasmania, was the Contel Communications team’s official home round, for driver Steve Glenney, the BOTT Adelaide Hills Rally feels more like his local event.
Glenney was born and bred in Wistow, a little town 10 kilometres south-east of Mount Barker, where rally fans will find the service park and rally headquarters for round five of the ARC, from 21-23 September.
“I spent the majority of my life in SA in the hills and went to school down in the city,” Glenney explained, who moved to Tasmania about five years ago.
“I almost have two homes now with Tassie but this certainly feels more like home for sure.”
The Contel Communications Team, owned and operated by Tasmanian Craig Brooks, has arguably been the standout crew of 2018.
With the likes of Jason White, seven-time Targa Tasmania winner, and tarmac rally driver Peter Nunn engineering the bright orange Subaru Impreza WRX STi, their commitment to getting the very best out of the ex-Molly Taylor 2016 Championship winning car has been second to none.
“I guess we have been given free licence from ‘Brooksy’,” said Glenney.
“He loves his new role, he loves being involved in good and exciting stuff and Jason and Pete are the head mechanics on the car, between us we constantly find things on the car to improve.
“That’s what we do…we hop in a car, find its faults, give the feedback to the mechanics and then they try and fix them if they can, if budget allows and if time allows.
“I guess we are in a fortunate position where ‘Brooksy’ is happy to keep funding that and keep spending because obviously it makes it better and he has trust in us to not waste his money and to keep improving the car which I think we are doing. It’s been a pretty cool project from that perspective.”
Glenney said the team made gains with the Subaru prior to Subaru Rally Tasmania, reducing the weight significantly within the regulations for production rally cars.
“The biggest gains have been before Tassie, but literally the car was worked on right up until the last minute and the test road we had wasn’t ideal for realising those gains.
“We probably made most of the progress at shakedown and we were still tuning throughout the event… and then obviously I threw it off the road which stunted our development a little bit.”
Glenney is looking forward to competing on familiar roads this weekend, but there is one stage that has all competitors chomping at the bit.
“Mawsons Row is the road that many of us regard as probably the most enjoyable in the country,” Glenney said.
“It’s just constantly linking corners so you’re sideways the whole time just on a nice consistent smooth, semi-slippery surface. And it’s in amongst houses so people have bonfires and parties and they invite people up… it’s a bit like Europe where people line the stage, that’s what it was like back 10 years ago when we ran it anyway.
“We’ve got the classic forestry stuff in Mount Crawford and some new stuff which I haven’t driven on before. But certainly Mawsons Row is the cracker that we are all looking forward to.”
Glenney said Friday night’s Super Special Stage at The Bend Motorsport Park will also be a bit of fun, with competitors competing side-by-side on the new Stadium track.
“Obviously there will be no touching allowed in this scenario so we’ll have to look after each other, but looking forward to it.
“I think it should be pretty exciting, especially at night with flames and sparks coming off the brakes and out of the exhaust, it should be interesting to see the cars up against each other.”
The 2018 BOTT Adelaide Hills Rally will kick off with a Super Special Stage at The Bend Motorsport Park on Friday, 21 September before two days of rallying around the hills of Adelaide on 22 – 23 September.