The 2018 Tasmanian Rally Championship kicks off this weekend with the Lifestyle Builders Southern Safari Rally. Formerly a round of the Australian Rally Championship, it has since returned to the TRC calendar. The event is Australia’s most southern rally, being run from the township of Southport. Crews will look forward to 110 kilometres of competitive driving over 10 stages.
With 2017 champion Eddie Maguire not contesting the first round, the field will be led by two of the most improved drivers in the championship. Huon Valley driver Bodie Reading and Alex Malcolm will attempt to defend their win from last year in their Subaru Impreza WRX STI. Hot on his heels will be Devonport’s Tim Auty and Jon Mitchell in the rapid Mazda 323 GTR.
In the Buckby Subaru Challenge, 9 drivers will contest the opening round. Defending title holder Nic Grave and Craig Sheahen will face fierce competition from the Buckby Motorsport prepared cars of Ben Newman and Steve Glenney; and Crichton Lewis and Anthony Carr. Joining the regular crews will be Motor Magazine’s Scott Newman, who will reunite with former co-driver Tim Kulhanek, and Targa competitor Peter Nunn, who makes a welcome return to gravel competition.
The two wheel drive field is very strong, consisting of front and rear wheel drive cars from the 1960s to the present day. Hobart’s Matt How has upgraded his BMW to M3 specification over the summer break and will start as favourite in the 2WD category, but will have a number of challengers. Former Australian junior championship competitor Stephen Turner has entered his Ford Fiesta R2 for the event and local driver David Oates is always spectacular on home soil in his Datsun 1600.
The cars will depart the Southport Hotel from 10:00am with the first car due to finish at 4:30pm.
The information and views set out in the listed articles are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Tasmanian Rally Championship, associated partners, the Tasmanian Rally Panel or its member clubs.