*Update: Marcus and Scott Walkem have since withdrawn their entry from the Netier National Capital Rally due to mechanical issues.
Marcus and Scott Walkem will return to the CAMS Australian Rally Championship (ARC) after a 12-month absence when they take part in the Netier National Capital Rally in Canberra.
The brothers made their last appearance in the ARC in the 2017 Make Smoking History Forest Rally after writing off their Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX.
Following the Forest Rally, the pair purchased the previously run Peugeot AP4 from Race Torque and began working on the car to get back into the ARC.
Their original target was to make last year’s Adelaide Hills Rally and then Rally Australia, however issues with the car meant a delayed comeback.
“We have completely rebuilt the car and that process has taken a little bit longer than we first anticipated,” Driver Marcus Walkem said.
“There were a few delays because that particular car had to rebuilt after the Forest Rally last year because Eli (Evans) had crashed it.
“It was a bit touch and go to get it ready for Rally Australia, but in the end we decided to pull out because for the time and effort that was going to go into it, we did not have complete faith with the car.
“Since then we completely pulled that apart and built it from scratch. That has taken time. There are always little delays getting parts.”
With Canberra’s Netier National Capital Rally not too far away, the rebuilt AP4 is almost complete and despite a few engine issues faced by the crew this week, the car is on track to be ready.
While the pair was looking forward to their long awaited return to the ARC, Marcus believes that they first need time in the car before they can mount any serious challenge
“I have barely driven this car. It’s different to the old Evo we had and it’s left hand drive so it will take a little bit of time,” Marcus said.
“You can test and prepare as much as you can, but there is nothing quite like doing an actually rally and having the car on an actual special stage.
“We’re not expecting to up there with the front runners, but we just want to have a good solid rally and get used to the car.
“In saying that, Canberra is a long and hard rally and if you can be there at the end, you’re always going to do ok.”
With a low expectation amongst the Walkem camp for a big result next weekend, Marcus is confident that the car will only get better, even if there is no desire to win future races.
“The car is going to be really good, it’s already proven to be quick and we think we’ve made some significant improvements,” Marcus explained.
“We know the car is quick but it will takes a few rallies to build some pace up but I guess as a team we re not expecting to be vying for wins as that’s a bit past us now.
“We just want to have fun and enjoy our running. We have built a good car that should give a few good years.”
The National Capital Rally is the third round of the CAMS Australian Rally Championship and will take place on the 1 – 3 June in Canberra.