The RSEA Safety Motorsport Australia Rally Championship will head to Queensland in 2021, with the sunshine state to host the second round of the Championship in May.
Given ongoing border restrictions and uncertainty around free movement into and out of Western Australia, the Make Smoking History Forest Rally will sadly not be part of the ARC this year.
Instead, Gympie will be home to the second round on 21-23 May, hosting the Rally of Queensland. Brisbane Sporting Car Club will be the event promoters, with the club eager to make the most of the opportunity to host a national level rally in their state.
It will be a welcome return to rallying for Queensland, which was last included in the ARC in 2016, hosting the then International Rally of Queensland. Reigning ARC Champions Harry Bates and John McCarthy finished that event in second place out of the ARC runners, with the ARC component won by Ryan Smart and John Allen.
More details of the event, including stages and spectator information, will be provided in the coming months.
Motorsport Australia is also pleased to advise the details of the sixth and final round of the RSEA Safety Motorsport Australia Rally Championship will be confirmed later this month.
Michael Smith, Motorsport Australia Director of Motorsport & Commercial Operations:
“We’re pleased to be able to welcome Queensland back to the RSEA Safety Motorsport Australia Rally Championship calendar in 2021 with the Rally of Queensland,” Smith said.
“The Brisbane Sporting Car Club will do a terrific job and we expect to see a really strong entry list at the event. The organisers know what needs to be done to turn this successful state event into a high-quality ARC event.
“Conversely, we are understandably disappointed that we couldn’t see the ARC return to Western Australia for the Make Smoking History Forest Rally this year.
This was a very difficult decision for us to shift this round of the ARC to the Queensland, but after close consultation with the competitor group it was decided that the Gympie based event would likely provide less logistical issues, given the border restrictions that vary from state-to-state.
“Nobody can predict how this virus will spread in the coming months or the restrictions that we may face, but ultimately there was some uncertainty that crews would be able to travel across the country and be allowed entry into Western Australia, given their tight border controls, including recent instances where the state has backdated arrival dates that require visitors to quarantine.
“We are certainly very eager to return to Western Australia and will soon commence planning for the event to return out west in 2022.”
Dominic Corkeron, Brisbane Sporting Car Club President
“We are overjoyed to be welcoming the RSEA Safety Motorsport Australia Rally Championship back to Queensland,” Corkeron said.
“Queensland has a proud history as part of the national and international calendar so we are thrilled that Gympie and the surrounding areas will be able to welcome Australia’s best rally drivers to this magnificent part of the state.
“The economic and tourism benefits will be substantial, and given the year we have all had, this will be a big boost to many in the local area, as well as for our state competitors who will get the opportunity to test themselves against the best in their own backyard. “We’d like to thank the ARC organisers for their support and trust. We can’t wait to see everyone at the event in May.”
Ross Tapper OAM, Make Smoking History Forest Rally:
“This is a disappointing outcome for us, however we respect the decision of Motorsport Australia and understand the concerns around travel into and out of Western Australia,” Tapper said.
“While we were confident the event could be held and a large entry list from around Australia would have been able to attend, we now shift our focus to ensuring we can welcome the ARC back into our state in 2022.”
RSEA Safety Motorsport Australia Rally Championship 2021 Calendar:
Round 1: Netier National Capital Rally, Canberra – 26-28 March
Round 2: Rally of Queensland, Gympie – 21-23 May
Round 3: Rally Tasmania, Launceston – 2-4 July
Round 4: Gippsland Rally, Heyfield – 7-8 August
Round 5: AGI Sport Adelaide Hills Rally – 16-17 October
Round 6: TBC – FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship Finale
Photo: Sportz Fotos