Classics to hit rally track
THEY’RE loud, fast and spend much of their time sideways – classic rally cars from yesteryear are planning a show of spectacular driving to rival their modern counterparts in the International Rally of Queensland in the Imbil forest next week.
A field of 13 pre-1983 rally cars, the biggest assembled in Australia this year, has entered the final round of the Australian Classic Rally Competition during the July 30-August 1 event.
Representing legendary models from past World Rally Championships, such as the Ford Escort BDA, Datsun Stanza, Datsun 1600SSS, Fiat 131 Abarth, Porsche 911, Triumph TR7 V8 and Mazda RX-7, the classics have attracted thousands of fans at their previous appearances this year in South Australia and New South Wales.
And drivers such as five-time Australian champion Ross Dunkerton, Stewart Reid, Keith Callinan, Jack Monkhouse and Wayne Hoy are equally popular for their flamboyant styles at the steering wheel.
In Queensland, the classics will run on the competitive Special Stages ahead of main-game competitors in the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship and Australian and Queensland Rally Championships.
While turbocharged engines and all-wheel drive make modern rally cars devastating quick and effective, the classics promise spectators at the Coates Hire Rally Shootout and Imbil Special Stages more visceral excitement.
Without the benefit of all-wheel drive traction, drivers have to pitch their cars sideways to slow or turn them and work hard to tame the horsepower produced with distinctive-sounding Weber carburettors.
Event director Errol Bailey said the record classics entry was a coup for the International Rally of Queensland.
“Classic rallying is a fast-growing movement and our spectators will be fortunate to see such a strong line-up for the season finale in Queensland,” he said.
“The cars look and sound spectacular and are superbly presented. They take spectators back to some of the greatest eras of world rallying, while being recognisably related to the ordinary road cars many of us drove 40 years ago.
“By the time the Classics go through the spectator points and the Asia Pacific cars arrive at high speed, the crowd will be yelling for more.”
The International Rally of Queensland starts in Caloundra next Friday night and continues with two days of forestry Stages around Imbil.