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RallySport Magazine August 2016

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The August 2016 issue of RallySport Magazine is now available, and includes: Latest news: * Dowel backs rallycross to be bigger than V8 Supercars * Quinn’s Rally Australia WRC car bid falls short * New WRX STi could be Rally America bound * Up to 10 AP4 cars for 2017 NZRC * Skoda R5 for Mark Pedder at Rally Australia Feature stories: * Famous stages - New Zealand’s Motu * A close look at the Skoda Fabia AP4+ * Group B Mitsubishi Starion 4WD remembered * Budget rallying - Hyundai Excel * Where are they now - Wayne Bell * Hayden Paddon column * Vale: Steve Ashton Interviews: * Molly Taylor - Subaru factory driver * David Holder - NZ Rally Champion * Col Trinder - Chairman of ARCom * Emma Gilmour - NZ’s fastest lady Event reports: * Rally of Finland * APRC - China Rally * Catalans Coast Rally * NZ’s Northern Rallysprint Series * Walky 100 Rally, SARC


EDITORIAL ARC AT THE CROSSROADS? By TOM SMITH Is the Australian Rally Championship at a crossroads? Recent comments made public by a number of leading competitors express frustration at the current and future direction of the national championship, and pose the option of a ‘rebel’ series. Are we about to see the emergence of something akin to ‘World Series Rallying’? What is the real likelihood of a second series of some kind, created in direct competition to the CAMS-authorised ARC? Firstly, the reasons for this outcry need to be considered and understood. The specification and rules of the ARC in recent years has changed often, and with much experimentation. The current rules are something of a compromise again, with changes introduced late in 2015 to enable increased competitiveness of older cars to compete against new models, and the newly-conceived G4 category that allows 4WD mechanicals to be implanted in a mainstream small car (and find commonalities with New Zealand). Comments made by ARC Chairman, David Waldon, in last month’s RallySport Magazine suggested that age limits of cars may be introduced and changes may be implemented in coming years to move away from the current formulae. This is when the proverbial hit the fan. Current competitors - who have invested (in some cases) hundreds of thousands of dollars buying, building or developing newbreed rally cars to compete in our highest domestic category - thought that they were being forewarned of obsolescence and massive financial impacts. Reading into the article, current leading team and car owners thought their cars would be excluded from competing in the medium term, and effectively rendered un-saleable in the longer term. Subsequent feedback from members of the Australian Rally Commission (ARCom) - “This is when the proverbial hit the fan. Current competitors thought that they were being forewarned of massive financial impacts.” not CAMS - reminded all parties that no decision had been recommended nor made, and that any changes to any series specification entailed a full and consultative process before any decisions would be endorsed and implemented. Such is the sensitivity of this subject, competitors with long memories will recall that similar changes of rules in past years have resulted in frustrations with the sport’s regulator, and questions as to the sense behind some of the changes made. The reality is that rallying at the national level is cyclic, and over the past 30 years the modern era of rallying has changed often. In the early 80s, Group G was the standard category, which ironically is arguably the specification of many of the current crop of ‘Classic’ rally cars. Production Rally Cars (PRC) took Australia in the direction of more standard specification, and evolved to include internationally recognised Group A and Group N, that remained stable for a number of years. In an effort to open up competition and attract manufacturer interest, ARCom introduced Group N (P), which resulted in well-built Corollas from the Neal Bates stable, and the Fordsupported Focus rear-wheel drive of Michael Guest. No other manufacturers supported the ‘prototype’ class. In recent years, another change took the top level of the sport to the G2 category for 2WD, front-wheel drive cars. While competitors embraced the class change with enthusiasm, a number of years of the underwhelming 2WD championship ended in 2015. As the 2016 Australian Rally Championship continues to unfold, the competition is close and diverse with cars from PRC, Group N and G4 battling for the top five positions ... and this may be the crux of the issue. The current set of formulae, whilst not perfect, is attracting competitor and spectator interest - ironically without free-to-air TV coverage for the first time in a number of years. It is far from easy being a volunteer administrator in a competitive motorsport environment. It is a difficult task to keep all stakeholders happy, and even when changes are made in response to public demand, others will not be happy. There’s an old saying, “If it ain’t broke, then don’t fix it!!” A period of rule stability at a time when the sport is trying to rebuild, may be the smartest decision to be made. Cars like JJ Hatton’s Lancer Evo IX may be ineligible to win the ARC in years to come. 4 | RALLYSPORT MAGAZINE - AUGUST 2016

NEWS@RALLYSPORTMAG.COM.AU AP4 BARINAS TAKING SHAPE IN NZ The Holden Barina AP4 cars are taking shape in New Zealand, as the new team prepares for the 2017 New Zealand Rally Championship. Former V8 Super car driver, Greg Murphy, admits that the progress so far is “very exciting”, and as the photos show, the new Barinas are taking shape. The purposeful looking Barinas will be fitted with engines built in the United States. Murphy and team-mate, Josh Marston, will contest all rounds of next year’s NZRC in the cars. - PETER WHITTEN The AP4 phenomenon continues in New Zealand, with the new Holden Barinas under construction. UP TO 10 AP4 CARS FOR NZRC Four cars have been seen in New Zealand in 2016 running the base of AP4, but interest has spiked. As well as the two Holden Barinas being built for Josh Marston and Greg Murphy, interest has been shown to build as many as three other manufacturer of cars. On top of this, Andrew Hawkeswood will campaign a brand new Mazda 2 in 2017, complete with 1600cc engine. As many as 10 of the cars could realistically be on the start line for the opening round of 2017. Meanwhile, new regulations have been confirmed for the next three years, particularly surrounding AP4 cars in the NZRC. Cars running under the 1600cc formula will have a weight limit of 1230kg, while a new AP4+ class allows for the 1800cc engines currently being run, with a 1300kg weight limit. Both classes will be required to run a 34mm turbo restrictor. Cars up to 2-litre will run with a 1350kg limit. - BLAIR BARTELS COFFS COAST, NSW 17-20 NOVEMBER 2016 FOLLOW THE ACTION AS IT HAPPENS SEE OUR FACEBOOK PAGE FOR FANTASTIC PRIZES AND OFFERS #YOUHAVETOBETHERE AUGUST 2016 - RALLYSPORT MAGAZINE | 5

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