Record entries for Rally Launceston ARC season opener

Harry Bates and Coral Taylor, winners of the 2022 Rally Launceston.

A total of 31 starters have been confirmed the Buckby ŠKODA Rally Launceston, with 25 of those Australian Rally Championship contenders in what’s the largest national contingent in the Tasmanian event’s history.

The opening round of the 2023 Bosch Motorsport Australian Rally Championship (ARC), the Buckby ŠKODA Rally Launceston will take place on March 24-26 with a similar run sheet to last year’s event – which took place in June – consisting of two heats made up of 12 stages and 207 competitive kilometres.

It saw 17 competitors in the final classifications compared to this year’s 31-strong entry list across all classes, with 25 ARC entrants and 10 of those in either AP4 or Rally2 machinery vying for outright honours.

“To have 25 cars registered for the ARC in the season opener, 18 of which will be making the journey from the mainland, is a terrific outcome for the sport,” Director of Motorsport and Commercial Operations, Michael Smith, said.

“Not only is the number of entrants highly impressive, but the quality of the field is one of the strongest it has been in a long time, which will certainly add to the spectacle.

“The fact that so many crews are willing to make the journey to Tasmania continues to highlight the Australian rally community’s confidence in the championship and that it’s heading in the right direction.”

View the full 2023 Buckby ŠKODA Rally Launceston entry list here.

Reigning champion Lewis Bates and Anthony McLoughin headline in their Toyota Gazoo Racing Yaris AP4 alongside the returning four-time Australian Rally Champion, Coral Taylor – mother of Molly Taylor, who won the opening round of the 2023 Extreme E Championship.

Taylor made a cameo appearance in the same event in 2022, winning with double champion Harry Bates at the wheel, whom she joins for the full ARC season in 2023.

James Dimmock and Larisa Biggar will drive a Yaris for Trailer Camper Australia, while Jamie and Bradley Luff will debut a brand-new Yaris for Luff Motorsport.

The Activ Rallysport Skoda Fabia R5 Evo of Troy Dowell with co-driver Bernie Webb will be the other new vehicle on the event.

Former Supercars driver Alex Rullo completes the switch from circuit to stage after making his ARC debut in the Western Australia round last May. The 22-year-old and co-driver Steve Glenney will campaign one of two IntelliSpatial Fleetcare Racing Hyundai i30 G4s, the other being run by his father, Peter, with James Marquet.

Also in a Hyundai i20 G4 is 2017 ARC champion Nathan Quinn and Ray Winwood Smith for the Winpart Group, while Gandew Sanders will drive an M-Sport prepared Ford Fiesta Rally 3 with Rhianon Gelsomino as co-driver.

A strong Tasmanian contingent includes the Carver Mechanical Subaru WRX STi of Bodie Reading and Mark Young, Stephen Maguire and Stuart Benson in a Mitsubishi Evolution IX, as well as Timothy Auty/ Callan Randall’s Mazda TRC Familia GTR Callan Randall.

Ben Newman and Adam Kudra’s Subaru WRX STi is one of the two Buckby Motorsport entrants, the event’s naming partner also being represented by Crichton Lewis with co-driver Anthony Carr, also in a Subaru.

Six rounds will make up the 2023 Bosch Motorsport Australian Rally Championship, with the calendar including Western Australia, Queensland, Victoria and South Australia’s Adelaide round before the final event – the National Capital Rally – in November.

Fans planning attend the Buckby ŠKODA Rally Launceston event can register for free Spectator Stage tickets here.

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