Following a successful return to the RSEA Safety Motorsport Australia Rally Championship (ARC) calendar in 2021, the Accent Benchtops Rally Queensland is back in business this weekend.
There is plenty to get excited about for the Gympie based event, with the fourth round of the 2022 ARC season to serve as the 50th time a national round has run in Queensland.
Held by the Brisbane Sporting Car Club, crews are scheduled to complete 180 competitive kilometres over 14 stages and like the Shannons Rally Launceston and Make Smoking History Forest Rally, the Sprint event is split into two heats.
Saturday’s first heat has slightly more kilometres with 91.46km spread across eight stages, with the largest being the 15.60km Kandanga Stage, while Sunday’s six stages will make up the remaining 88.48km – the highlight being the EROAD Power Stage.
Of the 14 stages throughout the weekend, four will present themselves as opportunities for fans to get a good view of all 73 crews in action at the rally’s official spectator points.
On Saturday, both passes of the Muster stage at 10:15am and 2:45pm AEST will be on show, while Sunday’s Brooyar East Stage will be the spectator destination, with cars to pass from 8:30am and again at 12:00pm.
There will also be multiple opportunities for ARC fans to see the cars up close via the Lock and Load Transport Tie Down Systems Rally Village, which will be housing the Service Park where teams will be managing and repairing the cars.
When crews are on stage, there will be free activities for everyone to enjoy, including the RSEA Safety Motorsport Australia Rally Championship Hub.
Before all the action gets underway though, the host town of Gympie will come alive with the Wheels on Mary festival, which features live entertainment, classic cars on display, food stalls and activations to keep the whole family amused.
As for the rally itself, the 20-car ARC entry list features plenty of star power that will light up the area for the second year running.
Current championship leader Harry Bates will be joined by regular co-driver John McCarthy after the Queenslander was hit with COVID ahead of the visit to the Apple Isle.
“I can’t wait to get back to Gympie for Rally Queensland. It’s a super special place to go rallying, the town really gets behind it,” Bates said.
“From that point of view, it makes you feel special as a driver because there’s always lots of spectators out in the stages there, which makes it really enjoyable.
“We will have the Bates/McCarthy relationship back and I am really looking forward to having John back in the car. Hopefully we can pick up where we left off.”
While the likes of fellow Toyota Gazoo Racing Australia driver Lewis Bates and Shamrock Motorsport’s Richie Dalton will be looking for a repeat of their previous ARC podiums, the big inclusion for this weekend is 2017 ARC champion Nathan Quinn.
It was a frustrating start to the year for the New South Welshman, with mechanical dramas affecting his Netier National Capital Rally campaign, however with more than three months since his last hit outing, the Winpart Group driver will be looking to challenge the top contenders.
Accent Benchtops’ Glenn Brinkman makes his first appearance for the year alongside ARC regulars including the likes of Proto Cars’ Troy Dowel, Curiositi Learning Technology’s Taylor Gill, Glendun Group’s Cahal Carey and R’N’B Rally Team’s Ryan Williams.
With Williams entered in both the Shamrock Haulage ARC 2WD Cup and Glendun ARC Junior Cup, he will face some fierce competition from Peterson Motorsport’s Aidan Peterson, debutant Josh Weidman of Link ECU and IKON Signs’ Dean Ridge.
Fans unable to make it to Queensland can keep up to date with all the results and updates throughout the weekend through the ARC website and social channels.
The EROAD Power Stage will be shown live and free via 7plus at 2pm AEST on Sunday, while the extended highlights show will be aired on 7plus and 7mate shortly after the event.
The Accent Benchtops Rally Queensland takes place in Gympie on 22-24 July.