The Accent Benchtops Rally Queensland has officially arrived with Australia’s best rally crews in Gympie for the third round of the 2023 Bosch Motorsport Australia Rally Championship (ARC).
A strong field of 30 ARC crews will battle it out in and around the forests of the regional Queensland town, with more than 200 kilometres spread over 14 stages making up the round.
A star-studded entry list will be taking centre stage at the event, with the likes of Toyota Gazoo Racing Australia pair Lewis and Harry Bates, Make Smoking History Forest Rally winner Nathan Quinn and Tasmanian talent Eddie Maguire amongst those likely to be fighting at the top of the time sheets.
Outside of the quartet, there is a long list of regulars capable of producing something special in the sunshine state, with the likes of Troy Dowel, Daniel Gonzalez, Luke Anear, Tom Clarke, Alex Rullo and Jamie Luff all behind the wheel of top-spec rally cars.
In addition to the outright contenders, there is plenty of talent throughout the field in the ARC Cups, headlined by the 12 entrants in the White Wolf Constructions ARC Production Cup and a season-high four crews in the ARC Classic Cup.
The event is also hosting a round of the KickAss Products Motorsport Australia Queensland Rally Championship, which will see some ARC crews cross-entered in both the ARC & QRC, including Glenn Brinkman and Ryan Williams.
Some of the high profile crews contesting just the state championship include Ian Menzies, Andrew Carrigan and Kim Acworth.
Like previous editions of Accent Benchtops Rally Queensland, the event will be split into two heats with valuable championship points on offer on both days of action.
Saturday is the bigger day of the two, with 131 competitive kilometres spread over eight special stages, all of which are similar distances, with roads in Imbil to be introduced into the event for the first time.
Sunday’s competition will see the remaining 85kms run over six stages, the last of which will be the EROAD Power Stage where fans from around the country can watch live and free via 7plus from 2pm AEST.
For rally fans able to make it to Gympie for the round, there will be multiple spectator points.
On Saturday, fans can attend both passes of the newly introduced Imbil Stage at 10:40am and again at 3:50pm AEST, while Sunday’s two passes of the Brooyar East Spectator Point will take place at 8:25am and 11:55am AEST where there will be two different viewing points.
Outside of the designated Spectator Points, fans will be able to see the cars up close at the KickAss Rally Village all weekend, along with plenty of other entertainment activations, while Friday night’s Wheels on Mary will once again kick off the event in style.
Taking place in the town centre on Mary Street, the Wheels on Mary will see all 62 cars on display, as well as live entertainment and food stalls to add to the highly anticipated street-party.
Ahead of the third round of the 2023 season, current ARC leader Lewis Bates was excited for the return of Rally Queensland.
“I am really looking forward to getting up to Gympie and contesting this incredible event,” Bates said.
“It’s been a couple of years since we actually competed here and there were some really nice roads in 2021. I have heard the Imbil roads that have been introduced this year are just as nice, so we are really excited.
“As for the competition itself, I am expecting a really tough event with the results to be quite close. There are few people in new cars and there are plenty of fast drivers so it should be entertaining.
“We had a strong run here in 2021 and the aim is to score as many points as we can again this weekend and keep our championship lead. If Anthony and I can continue our momentum for the past two rounds, and the back end of last year, we should be alright.
“With that said, it’s still early days and a lot can happen, but banking some good points would be great for our 2023 campaign.”
The 2023 Accent Benchtops Rally Queensland takes place in Gympie on 22-23 July.
Feature Photo: DMAC Photography