Two weeks ago the Rally of Canberra was looking very distant for Marty Beckton after a deal fell through that would have seen him run a Ford Escort 'Kit Car' against Simon Evans and Monster Tajima on the roads surrounding the Nation's Capital.
Two weeks ago the Rally of Canberra was looking very distant for Marty Beckton after a deal fell through that would have seen him run a Ford Escort 'Kit Car' against Simon Evans and Monster Tajima on the roads surrounding the Nation's Capital. However, following bitter disappointment came elation for Beckton, the UK based team securing Evans' former F2 Championship winning VW Golf 'Kit Car' for next month's Asia-Pacific Round.
"It was an amazing coincidence really! After being let down by the UK team over here with the F2 Escort, Tom Fyfe (VW Motorsport Australia Team Manager) called me at work on a totally unrelated matter. I explained our situation to him and we were able to strike a deal to run Simon's (Evans) old car," related an ecstatic Beckton.
After moving out of the Mk3 Golf to the latest specification Mk4 at the end of last season, Evans's 'Kit Car' has been on the market receiving some interest from Australia and overseas. The deal will see Beckton run the Volkswagen that Evans took to victory at last year's FAI Rally of Canberra and outright Formula 2 victory in the Australian Rally Championship, the 2-litre, sequentially gearboxed vehicle should prove the ideal weapon for Beckton to tackle the Capital's roads in.
Beckton's biggest challenge will stem from the fact that he has very little front-wheel drive experience, last having driven Craig Marshall's Peugeot at the Rally of New Zealand in 1998. "It's probably more relevant to count how many times I've been in a front-wheel drive car!" commented Beckton. "Simon's car is an excellent car and in reality it's probably a better example of an F2 car than the Escort that I was going to bring over. Providing we can get a little bit of testing in prior to the rally then I'm hoping to be up there."
The biggest question remains though, can Marty Beckton hope to mix it with Evans and Tajima through the Canberra Forests? "It's probably a big ask to be up there on their pace straight away because they've been driving them for a while but I'm going to try anyway! There is no point in not trying!" added Beckton.
Beckton and the team will assemble in Canberra in the week prior to the event's start, hopeful of completing at least a day's testing in the VW Golf prior to the 3-day reconnaissance of the event's stages. The team will contest the event on Silverstone tyres, a recent test in Sweden on gravel stages showed that the tyres actually performed better than Pirelli tyres, the same tyre used by World Championship teams Subaru and SEAT!
The rally kicks off on the 5th May in front of Parliament House in the center of Canberra. Drivers will tackle 21 Special Stages of competition, traversing some 297km.