WA Rally Championship to begin this weekend

The 2020 Motorsport Australia WA Rally Championship gets underway this weekend with 40 crews to do battle at the Truck Wholesale WA Bakers Hill Sprint on Saturday, 18 July.

Set at the Winvale Park Complex, crews will complete on two stages run twice in one direction and then twice in reverse, taking the event total to 58.2 competitive kilometres.

A number of the championship’s marquee drivers will return to contend this year’s title including 2019 champions John O’Dowd and Toni Feaver, with the duo confirmed to once again be behind the wheel of the WRC2 spec Truck Wholesale WA Skoda Fabia R5.

O’Dowd and Feaver will most likely face a tough battle from fellow title challengers and previous event winners Ben Searcy and James Marquet, Stephen Oxley with co-driver Steph Esterbauer and reigning 2WD champions Razvan and Iona Vlad.

For the reigning champion, he is happy the long wait to compete is finally over and he can begin preparations for the 2020 RSEA Safety Motorsport Australia Rally Championship

“I’m very happy we have a championship, hats off to everyone for their efforts to get it up and running,” O’Dowd said.

“We did a recce yesterday and the stages look good. We’re happy with the car which we tested last weekend, and we’re using a new tyre this year that’s the control tyre for the national championship.”

One notable name to look out for in Saturday’s event will be a gravel rally debutant and one of eight rookies to compete, Max McRae, whose famous father Alister and uncle Colin both tested at the 1000km West Australian property during the 1990s.

Having already run at Targa West events previously, the 16-year-old will be sitting alongside 2016 and 2017 Australian Rally Championship co-driver Bill Hayes, with the duo to line up in the 2WD Ford Fiesta ST150.

“I’m really excited and can’t wait for the rally,” McRae said.

“But what I’m looking to gain is seat-time in the car and experience.

“There’ll always be pressure carrying the McRae name but at the moment I’m just focussed on working as hard as I can to learn as much as I can.”

To stay in line with government restrictions, organisers are not encouraging spectators to attend and are will ensure social distancing is maintained. Due to the event also being shortened, only half the championship points will be awarded.

The Truck Wholesale WA Bakers Hill Sprint takes place at the Winvale Park Complex in Bakers Hill on Saturday 18 July.