Rally Queensland to host massive ARC return party

The Accent Benchtops Rally Queensland will welcome a big Bosch Motorsport Australia Rally Championship (ARC) field with 30 ARC crews entered in the event.

Serving as the third round of the ARC, the Gympie-based rally will see the strong field of 30 ARC registered crews tackle more than 200 kilometres across 14 stages over two days.

In addition to the ARC field, there are a further 32 crews registered for the event, most of which are entered in the KickAss Motorsport Australia Queensland Rally Championship, taking the total entries to 62 crews.

Headlining the entry list are reigning champions Lewis Bates and Anthony McLoughlin, who will be eager to extend their current championship lead, while Toyota Gazoo Racing Australia teammate Harry Bates, who has Coral Taylor by his side, enters the rally as the most recent winner in Queensland having won the 2021 edition.

Sitting in second place overall on the ARC standings is Winpart Group’s Nathan Quinn and Ray Winwood-Smith, and the duo will be confident of chasing down the Bates brothers following their victory in May’s Make Smoking History Forest Rally.

AGI Rallysport’s Luke Anear and Malcom Read will be hoping to improve on their best start to an ARC campaign, as will the likes of Realty Lane’s Daniel Gonzalez and Daymon Nicoli and Tasmanian drivers Steven Maguire and Carver Mechanical/Bridgestone Huonville’s Bodie Reading, the duo to have Dale Moscatt and Mark Young calling the notes for them.

Maguire’s brother Eddie and his co-driver Zak Brakey are also entered in the event and will be in their new Skoda Fabia R5 recently purchased from Troy Dowel.

Dowel himself will be debuting a new car in Gympie, with the young Victorian to be behind the wheel of the Proto Cars Australia Mitsubishi Mirage G4 alongside regular co-driver Bernie Webb.

Also in attendance will be handful of regular ARC crews, including White Wolf Racing’s Tom Clarke and Ryan Preston, Luff Motorsport’s Jamie and Brad Luff and IntelliSpatial Fleetcare Racing’s two-car line up of Alex Rullo/Steve Glenney and Peter Rullo, who has secured Ben Searcy as James Marquet’s replacement.

Photo: DMAC Photography

Adding to Rally Queensland’s new car collection will be New South Welshman Dean Ridge and Muireann Hayes, who will be debuting their new Ford Fiesta.

Ridge won’t be the only familiar face making his return to the ARC at this month’s Rally Queensland, with KickAss’ Glenn Brinkman and Steven Richardson, APX SUSPENSION’s Ryan Williams and Brad Jones, Virtual Security Guard’s Cameron Henry and Erik Johnsson, and Automotive Repair Centre’s Simon and Elysia Jansen all entered.

The Queensland quartet will be joining Stephen Maguire and Reading in a super-competitive White Wolf Constructions ARC Production Cup, which also includes the likes of Pulang Menang’s Gandewa Sanders and Rhianon Gelsomino, the privateer entries of Sam Hill/Makenzie Davidson-Hill and Nathan Stokes/Ian Wheeler and TRIPP INDUSTRIES’s Nikki Duclos and Craig Hodge.

Adding to the super competitive Production Cup are Ben and Catherine Hayes in their Subaru BRZ – the Victorians also entered in the ARC 2WD Cup, for which they lead overall.

Up against the husband-wife crew in the 2WD Cup are Tim Collingwood and Greg McAndrew and Queensland youngsters Joshua Widman and Nicholas Reid, who are cross-entered in the ARC Junior Cup.

Rounding out the entry list are four ARC Classic Cup crews, headlined by David and Ivan Thompson, the father and son to continue their rivalry alongside respective co-drivers Matthew Sanders and Nathan Quartermaine, Sharath Hedge/Kim Bessell and Ian Griffin/Liam Benton.

Photos: CH Images

While there is a strong number of crews entered in the rally, the quality of entries is just as impressive, with Clerk of Course Brian Everitt thrilled with the overall entry list.

“After a disappointing outcome last year, the Brisbane Sporting Car Club are wanting to bounce back and to have this much interest in the return of the ARC is fantastic,” Everitt said.

“We are chuffed with not only the size, but the quality of the entry list and are thankful for the best crews in Australia showing the trust and faith in the organisers to put on a good and safe event.

“The entry list of more than 30 ARC crews is up there with the old days of the international Rally of Queensland and the most entries we have had here for quite some time.

“We’re chuffed with the support from both crews and the regional Gympie council who have shown a lot of faith in us too – so we can’t wait to put on a show and have the best crews in Australia experience the forestry and shire roads this beautiful part of Queensland has to offer.”

View the full Accent Benchtops Rally Queensland entry list.

The Accent Benchtops Rally Queensland takes place in and around the forests of Gympie on 22-23 July, with the highly anticipated Wheels on Mary Festival to take place in the town centre on 21 July.