Monkhouse heads West for 'real' season start. After an eventful few months of announcements, testing and thorough preparation, South Australian Rallying sensation Jack Monkhouse's season really kicks off this weekend, as the 2005 Globalstar ...
Monkhouse heads West for 'real' season start.
After an eventful few months of announcements, testing and thorough preparation, South Australian Rallying sensation Jack Monkhouse's season really kicks off this weekend, as the 2005 Globalstar Australian Rally Championship slides into action with the Quit Forest Rally in Western Australia.
Centred around the picturesque town of Busselton, the Quit Forest Rally marks a significant step in the career of the 24-year-old Adelaide based driver as he contests his first GARC event as a nominated Manufacturer Championship points scorer for Mitsubishi.
This year's Globalstar Australian Rally Championship is expected to be one of the closest in history, with factory backed teams from three manufacturers once again lining up against an incredibly strong privateer line-up, that includes the Monkhouse team.
And after a day of reconnaissance today on the notorious 'ball bearing' WA surface, Monkhouse -- who has stunned many over the last two years competing on the national scene in an aging Mitsubishi Gallant VR4 -- is feeling confident heading into to tomorrow night's ceremonial rally start and first stage in Busselton.
"Id have to day I'm feeling pretty comfortable heading into the rally," he explained after experiencing the West Australian roads today. "We had some rain half way though the reccy which has given us the opportunity to get some data in both the wet and dry conditions."
A change of date for this year's West Australian round of the championship means that rain is a possibility in a rally which is usually run in hot and dry conditions.
"The roads seem to have a lot of grip when there has been a bit of rain," he explained. "But if it gets really wet, I think the Clay will make it diabolically slippery. The experience we got today should help us though."
With the added competition amongst the ranks this season, Monkhouse was cautious as far as predicting a finishing position for the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VII he will share with Co Driver Darren Masters.
"Its very hard to tell where the pace of everyone is going to be, but we are definitely aiming at a top five overall and to be the leading privateer." He said. "But we'll just take it one stage at a time and see how things pan out over the course of the rally.
"We were able to have a chat with (Factory Mitsubishi Driver) Scott Pedder this afternoon and discuss some options for set-up which was also a huge help, so it's all looking really good."
The combination have competed in Perth twice before with varied success. Last year event was interrupted by gearbox dramas on the opening day which hindered their progress. Sunday's leg saw the team set competitive times for a majority of the day before slipping off the road and becoming stuck with just a few stages remaining.
This weekend's event kicks off the six round Globalstar Australian Rally Championship with the now traditional two-heat format, one each on Saturday and Sunday.