Scott Pedder will make another grand return to the Bosch Motorsport Australia Rally Championship (ARC) in 2024, only this time it will be a full-time campaign, in a top-spec car and targeting championship honours .
The popular Victorian will tackle the full 2024 ARC season behind the wheel of a recently purchased 2018 Skoda Fabia R5 and has secured the services of legendary co-driver Glenn Macneall to call the notes.
Adding pedigree to his return will be the confirmation of highly esteemed West Australian outfit Maximum Motorsport preparing and managing the car for him.
Pedder’s campaign will also see the special return of Pedders Rally Team, which will be the team’s first official season since a three-car Pedders team contested the ARC in 2004.
Although Pedder has had two small stints in the ARC since his first and only national title in 2014, he has found himself in the right place and right time to get a full campaign organised.
“Being around the fringes in the past couple of years, I have been trying to keep my eye in because I still love the sport and think I still have what it takes to be competitive at the top level of the sport in Australia,” Pedder said.
“One of the crucial parts to the decision to re-enter the ARC in a full-time capacity was to be able to leverage this commercially and I am really excited about the program we have planned to leverage our involvement in the ARC with activation and promotion of the Pedders business.
“We will also be introducing no fewer than 14 new team sponsors to the ARC.
“Once we finalised commercial plans, I bought a 2018 Skoda Fabia R5 from Europe. We had a couple of choices, but having experience with that car’s setup from our foray into the World Rally Championship in 2016 and that brief spell at Gippsland last year both convinced me it was the right decision.
“Although it’s not the latest spec, I have the benefit of knowledge and setup from 2016, while Maximum themselves have experience with the car having prepared one of the exact same nature for Daniel Gonzalez last year.
“Having support from the actual manufacturer was another reason. Maximum have already started a strong connection with Skoda in Europe and they are providing great information in terms of setup and options, which is far more forthcoming with an older spec car versus the newer spec car that is being run with a factory team in WRC2.”
With the car currently in transit by ship from the UK, Pedder will not be able to get his first test behind the wheel until March, where he has already confirmed a shake down in Perth before doing an official Melbourne launch and proper test in the week leading up to Canberra.
Not only will Pedder be getting valuable seat time in the week before the Rally of Canberra, but he will also be using the opportunity to complete the first week of pre-event commercial activations.
Pedder, along with the Skoda and the full team, will be part of product and technical evenings held for Pedders franchisees, managers and staff on the Tuesday night prior to each event, before hosting key VIP customers the following day for a “Effects of Weight on a Vehicle” educational drive day culminating in a hot lap in the Skoda R5 with Pedder.
“I think the week of activations before every event will be fun and again it is great to be able to tie in our motorsport legacy, love and programme with our key commercial stakeholders especially focussing on chassis dynamics and the effects of weight which is a critical safety issue with many vehicles on Australian roads” Pedder added.
“From a competition perspective, the aim this year is to challenge for the title. There is no reason why that can’t happen. We have a lot of experience in rallying, and I know the car and the events well. I would have done most of the roads that are used throughout my career.
“We are setting ourselves up to contend for the championship, but I have no doubt there will be very strong competition like most of my career.
“It’s going to be a challenge, but our first goal is going to be to finish each rally, because it’s no secret that people who finish second and third can still be in the hunt for a title.
“I can’t wait to compete again. It’s going to be a special year based on the numbers. It’s been a decade since my last win, 20 years since Pedders Rally Team last competed officially and almost 50 years since Pedders first started rallying in Australia.”
“Being both the 2014 and 2024 Australian Rally Champion does have a nice ring to it.”
The 2024 Bosch Motorsport Australia Rally Championship season begins with the Rally of Canberra on 5-7 April.