Monaro stages ready to welcome ARC

Preparations for the 2021 RSEA Safety Motorsport Australia Rally Championship (ARC) season finale is well underway with the Canberra Light Car Club ready to take the event to the next level.

Not usually part of the ARC calendar, the Kosciuszko Automotive Monaro Stages Rally was brought into the fold last month, giving the championship a chance to wrap up the 2021 season.

Taking place in the Monaro region of New South Wales, the standalone rally will be split into two components with 25 crews to contest the ARC’s eight designated stages, while the remaining 60 to 65 crews will run in the general competition, which includes a further two stages at night.

While the national component is yet to open up ARC registered crews , the rally has already exceeded its capacity with around 81 cars showing significant interest, forcing organisers to stop accepting entries ahead of the original closing date in order to manage expectations.

It marks the second year in a row the event exceeded more than 80 crews. Last year’s event had just as many entrants, but had to be cancelled due to poor weather.

The 2021 edition, now running in December, is unlikely to have similar problems and having the ARC join the event will certainly add to the spectacle.

Assistant Clerk of Course of the ARC component and event organiser, Kim Winks, was proud the rally had earned itself the right to host the national championship’s makeshift final round.

“We were more than happy to help the ARC when we were approached to incorporate it into our event, but our biggest concern was we didn’t want it to impact the grassroots component,” Winks said.

“Thankfully, the ARC have been extremely accommodating throughout this process and it’s really pleasing to see how appreciative they have been in making sure it doesn’t step on our toes.

“There has been a bit of a perception about the ARC doing whatever it can for the top rally drivers in the country, but they have been brilliant and this experience has definitely shown how much they care for grassroots rally drivers too.

“We have been collaborating really well together and to have an event like this is a win-win situation for not just ourselves and the ARC, but for the future of Australian rally as a whole.

“Our rally has been running for five years and the fact that the ARC had enough trust in us to choose the Monaro Stages over any of the other available event makes us as organisers really proud.

“The Canberra Light Car Club has always worked hard on delivering grassroots events and it just goes to show that it’s paying off.

“Essentially everything is ready to go. Of course few adaptations were needed to the national safety plan, but apart from that, we had most of the work done before lockdowns were imposed, so it’s all looking good.

In what is shaping up to be a huge finale, a number of ARC high profile names were already confirmed to attend the event before the merge, and will likely switch to the national component.

Nathan Quinn and JJ Hatton headline the list of competitors entered thus far, with the latter to make his return to rallying after a crash right before this year’s Netier National Capital Rally.

Entries for the ARC component, which will run as an ARC sprint event, will open in the coming weeks.

Highlights from the ARC event will be available on 7plus in the week following the event, while the Elysian Energy Power Stage will also be part of the finale with all important bonus Championship points up for grabs.

The Kosciuszko Automotive Monaro Stages Rally, the final round of the ARC, takes place on 11 December.

Photo: Wishart Media