Rugby star Ben Tune and Winter Olympic gold medallist Steven Bradbury got a taste of Caloundra's Falken Tyres Rally of Queensland today when they were chauffeured around the Beerburrum forest at speeds up to 160km/h today. Mitsubishi Ralliart ...
Rugby star Ben Tune and Winter Olympic gold medallist Steven Bradbury got a taste of Caloundra's Falken Tyres Rally of Queensland today when they were chauffeured around the Beerburrum forest at speeds up to 160km/h today.
Mitsubishi Ralliart drivers Ed Ordynski and Spencer Lowndes gave the pair a ride on the wild side, in the final shakedown before the rally kicks off tonight at Kings Beach Caloundra.
"Anything that goes fast I'm a big fan of", said Tune.
"I can get my head around how fast they go, but the grip that they have is amazing.
"The relative speeds that they are doing on the gravel surfaces, I can't believe that there aren't more of them wrapped around trees."
For Bradbury, the adrenalin rush of the Mitsubishi Lancer EVO 7 dashing between the trees brought back memories of his speed skating days.
"Speed is a similarity, but since it is a car it is a fair bit faster.
"I think the thing I was most surprised by was how smooth it was, I was only in there for a minute or so at speed, it was awesome.
"It was impressive how fast it could go at fast speeds through the thick dirt," said Bradbury.
Earlier in the day, the top crews in the rally raced the clock for the bragging rights leading into the first competition stage tomorrow morning in the Mary Valley.
Championship leader Cody Crocket set a cracking pace, with a best time of 1:08.5, shading Mitsubishi privateer competitor Mark Thompson by 0.6sec, and leading Ralliart driver Spencer Lowndes by 0.9sec.
Competition starts just outside of Imbil at 8:40am, with a highlight being the Hella Hillclimb at Gyndier Drive Tewantin, starting at 4:30pm.
Cody Crocker (Subaru Australia)
"It's been a bit of a wait for us, we've had six weeks off after having the first three rallies of the year in five weeks, so I'm very keen to get back into it.
"The car is very much the as what it was in Canberra, so that was good enough to win there, so hopefully it is good enough to win here.
"The roads aren't bad, but it's interesting, when we do recce, we've got to do it at 50km/h, which is a bit hard to do when you are on stages that you will be going through at 150km/h at some places.
"It's something that you really have to concentrate on, when you do it at such a slow speed, you have to be sure that the really fast corners are absolutely right."
Neal Bates (Toyota Team Australia Corolla)
"It seems an awful long time since we did Perth, and I'm really looking forward to this weekend.
"I think the roads are incredibly challenging, but I think it will make for a good event.
"In testing the car has been very good, and I'm quite happy with the set up, we'll have to wait and see over the weekend if it is fast enough."
Rick Bates (Toyota Team Australia Corolla)
"I'm looking forward to it, the roads are fairly challenging, hopefully it looks like the weather has fined up and the rain will stay away, and we're looking to put in a solid performance.
"It's hard to pick up if the improvements have helped while testing by ourself, it's when you go up against other cars and times, and it's the only way to gauge if they have worked."
Spencer Lowndes (Mitsubishi Ralliart)
"We've had a very good test and recce, and it looks as though the weather is going to stay nice.
"They are probably the most challenging roads from a driver's perspective in the country, and this year, these are probably the hardest Queensland roads I've seen in the last five years that I have been doing the event.
"It's going to be very very tricky, but it is definitely going to be a driver's event, so whoever is going to push the hardest is going to come out on top.
"We've recently had a very good three day test in Melbourne, where we have sorted out all of the problems we had in Western Australia, so hopefully that will translate into more speed."
Ed Ordynski (Mitsubishi Ralliart)
"It's a very difficult, challenging course, with a lot of new roads, I've never been up in those mountains before and Tower Road, so it is always good to do something new.
"The car is a transformation compared to Western Australia.
"Probably the best way to describe it is that it is back at where it was at this stage last season.
"At the first three events last season, the car was very good, and rolled it in the Rally of Queensland last year, and damaged the wiring harness, from then on it was a very difficult car to drive with continuing electrical problems.
"The difficulty now is that we have lost a year's development.
"It's going to be very difficult, there are a lot of wet parts out there.
"If today is fine and sunny, we still don't know what is going on up in the mountains, so I think it is going to be a bit of a lottery as to which tyre to take."
Simon Evans (Hella Motorsport Subaru)
"We're looking forward to the end of the weekend. We've had a couple of dramas, but hopefully the boys have got them fixed, and we'll get there.
"The roads are really good, very dangerous, a bit wet.
"It's very challenging, it's got a bit of everything, and you guys tend to throw in these slippery corners where you don't expect them, it's going to be a very tough event.
Steven Shepheard (GSA Motorsport Mitsubishi)
"The course is very tight and twisty, with lots of trees on the exits and entries of corners, but it is going to be exciting.
"The car is excellent, very good, we're ready to go."