This weekend’s Buckby ŠKODA Rally Launceston has had a shake up to the entry list with Eddie Maguire a late inclusion to the Bosch Motorsport Australia Rally Championship (ARC) season opener.
The talented Tasmanian rally driver has been confirmed to replace Ben Newman, who was unable to recover in time from knee surgery earlier in the year.
Maguire will now pilot Newman’s Buckby Motorsport prepared Subaru WRX STI alongside Adam Kudra for the 13-stage rally in and around the forests of Launceston.
Although used to steering a Mitsubishi Evo with regular co-driver Zak Brakey, Maguire was excited to return to the ARC and was looking forward to the challenge.
“It’s a massive last-minute and has its challenges but I am really looking forward to it,” Maguire said.
“Obviously it’s a big shame for Ben not being able to get up for the event and I hope has a speedy and healthy recovery, but I appreciate the opportunity he has given me with the callup.
“It’s an interesting situation to be in because usually I like to have a couple of weeks to prepare the mind for a rally as opposed to a few days, and having a different navigator and setup will also present challenges.
“With that said, I am up for the challenge and we’ll do as many runs as we can during Thursday’s testing sessions so I can understand the car and make some changes to the aesthetics to help me get comfortable.
“I have never driven with Adam before, so we will go through how I like calls to be delivered and hopefully we can get to a level where we are both comfortable.
“I have had to do this sort of thing before, so it’s not too foreign for me. I always say that to get completely comfortable with a car, you need to have driven it and slept after at least four times and although I can’t do that this time, I am hopeful I should find rhythm by Sunday.”
Despite not having any experience in the car or with Kudra, Maguire still has a good recent record in Tasmania having finished in the outright top five during both heats at last year’s Rally Launceston event.
In addition to his strong experience on home soil, Maguire admitted there were some extra factors in his favour that would prevent him from just making up the numbers.
“Having a good record in Launceston gives me confidence for my home event and the fact that they are similar roads to last year kind of gives us a bit of a head start,” Maguire added.
“Yes the car is completely different, but it’s a good car and it’s around 150kg lighter than the Evo I usually drive which should make a difference.
“Honestly, we are there to have a crack because if it was a matter of just filling up the entry list, Ben would have just driven, and I am confident I can get a decent run.
“I would be stoked to win the White Wolf Construction’s ARC Production Cup and it would be amazing to knock off a couple of the AP4s or R5s, but we have no expectations.
“Going through this entry list, it’s a really strong field with a great collection of cars. It’s a sign that Australian rally is on the rise again and to be part of it is really exciting.
“Seeing this sort of field and these new cars like the Rullos’ R2 spec cars definitely gives us the motivation to do something like this in the future.
“All in all, we’re looking forward to it and going head-to-head with my brother Stephen again, so once again, thank you to Ben for the opportunity and I am excited to work with the Buckby Motorsport team.”
The 2023 Buckby ŠKODA Rally Launceston takes place around the forests of Launceston on 24-26 March.