While most of the attention for this weekend’s Accent Benchtops Rally Queensland will be on the Bosch Motorsport Australia Rally Championship (ARC), there is no doubt the state component of the event will pique the interest of rally fans.
Sharing the stage with the ARC crews in Gympie will be the KickAss Motorsport Australia Queensland Rally Championship (QRC), where there are 42 crews entered in the state-championship.
Of the 42, 10 crews will be doing double duties throughout the event with the likes of Glenn Brinkman/Steven Richardson and Ryan Williams/Brad Jones leading the field.
Both Brinkman and Williams are making their first ARC appearances for the year – as are the majority of the drivers entered in both components – the only exception being youngster Josh Wiedman, who enjoyed an ARC 2WD Cup Heat win at the Make Smoking History Forest Rally in May alongside co-driver Nick Reid.
Some other familiar names to ARC fans doing both the national and state championship include Cameron Henry/Erik Johnsson and Ian Griffin/Liam Bainton – the latter’s most recent ARC round resulting in an overall ARC Classic Cup victory at last year’s Supercheap Auto Coffs Coast Rally.
Although the 10 cross-entered crews will be ones to look out for, there are a fair few QRC-only-registered crews likely to contend for state honours.
Leading that charge will be Ian Menzies and Robert McGowan in their Mitsubishi Evo.
Another strong contender in a Mitsubishi behind Menzies and McGowan is the highly popular Magna of Andrew Carrigan and Liam Hinschen.
With his brother Tristan not taking part in the rally, Carrigan will be representing the highly talented family name on his own and was expecting a tough event against multiple drivers capable of grabbing the win.
“A lot of work goes into a rally, but the car is all prepped and ready to go, so we are pumped for what should be a fun weekend,” Carrigan said.
“Although I would like to think I can be up the top of the state championship or at least there abouts – we will have to see how far we can go against the 4WD contenders.
“Young Ryan Williams, Ian Menzies and Glenn Brinkman are definitely the favourites as they are all good drivers and have good machinery underneath them, so it’s going to be a tough challenge.
“Unfortunately, Tristan is not here this weekend either, and I would say he is the better one of the two of us, but I have managed to get close to him in recent events, so that gives me confidence for a good event.
“As for the rally itself, we really enjoyed it last time out and I have no doubt I will be doing the same this year – I love Brooyer West and the faster roads suit our car, so hopefully we can get a good result.
“The overall plan will be to try to beat the top 4WD guys and keep the car intact, which might be difficult, however, we don’t really plan for it. We just like to roll with the punches.”
There are plenty of other notable crews entered in the QRC component of the highly anticipated event, including John Bustard/Melinda Bergmann, Kim Acworth/Michelle Berardo, Michelle Van Der Wilk/Kass Brumley and the Brisbane Sporting Car Club’s Sam Donovan/Scott Ferris.
In addition to the QRC, the rally will also be hosting rounds of the Ackworth Recruitment Clubman Queensland Clubman Rally Series and the Virtual Security Guard Queensland Novice Rally Series.
The crews registered solely to the QRC will just contest Saturday’s eight stages, while the Novice competitors will only tackle the day’s opening four stages.
All 62 cars will be on display in Friday night’s Wheels on Mary Festival before the Accent Benchtops Rally Queensland takes place in and around the forests on Saturday and Sunday.