NEAL Bates and Coral Taylor will start as the favourite team in the upcoming National Capital Rally Bates has not been challenged in recent times, Bn Barker in the last round only faster when Bates had mechanical issues.
With classic legend Ari Vatanen watching crews from the corporate spectating area, plenty of classic action is expected. Claude Murray in his Datsun 16oo starting in second position. Jeff David will use his older Porsche and the challenge will be well and truly on for podium positions.
Local Trevor Stilling is treating the event as shakedown for the upcoming Sydney to London Rally, his Nissan Stanza rebuilt for the event. The hills will run their historic RallySport RS1800’s, along with Max Roberts from Bega in his RS 1800.
Clay Bedenoch make the long trip form Toowoomba in his Toyota Corrolla, his new RA 40 Celica still under construction by Neal Bates.
Brett Stephens, a local accountant will be out to settle up in his Nissan Bluebird along with Stuart Maclachlan in a Stanza and Tom Clarke in a Datsun 1600.
Dave King will also compete in his replica Monte Carlo Mini.
Cars will compete for the first time on Kumho tyres, the performance for many will be unknown on Canberra’s tricky stages, few teams have had little chance to test on them.
With hundreds coming to Canberra for the Hall of Fame dinner prior to the rally to hear legend Ari Vatanen speak, interest in Classics is at an all time high with entry numbers matching the main ARC competition for the first time.
Ari will also be driving Dave Thompson’s Quattro S1 on the power stages and also giving selected rides on the media day. Vatanen has not driven a Quattro before so the crowds expected will be thrilled by him being back in Canberra.
Vatanen will be remembered for his heroic drive in the Masport Escort in the Castrol rally in 1980.