26 drivers to chase glory at QLD Rally Champs tomorrow

THE Queensland Rally Championship comes to Central Queensland tomorrow, when the Round 2 Tyrepower Wowan Rally blasts around four special stages on Banana Shire Council dirt roads, north and south of the township.

The rally is hosted by the Central Queensland Motor Sport Club (CQMSC) and is only in its second year. According to CQMSC president Clay Weston there are a couple of aspects to this rally which make it unique. "Wowan is special, as it's the only regional championship rally in the state," Weston said.

"The other five rounds of the Queensland Rally Championship are all located in the state's south-east corner. It is also the only Queensland rally on council roads, the others are all held in forestry reserves. This makes it fast and an enjoyable rally in which to compete and, importantly, watch.

"It's a very open course and this makes it quick. Unlike some other rallies you don't flog the car, then brake, flog the car, then brake. It's a flowing course where drivers get some real speed for long sections."

Because of this, Weston said, drivers enjoy the Wowan rally.

"We are only in our second year, but from the reports we got back last year, when we held the inaugural Wowan rally in August, driver satisfaction is very high. This is because they can utilise their car to the maximum of its capabilities, as well as their driving capabilities," Weston added.

A field of 26 drivers will contest the rally, starting at the Wowan Commercial Hotel, at 10am tomorrow.

They do so over four special stages, which vary in length from 1.5km through to 20km. The first special stage is completed once, stages two and three are completed three times and the final stage is completed multiple times. The rally finishes about 6.30pm.

"We just get some racing into the dusk, which is special too," Weston said.

Drivers compete in various classes; the main three are turbo all-wheel drive, two-wheel drive and classics, cars which are 30 years or more old.

A former navigator turned driver, Weston is one of the best among a handful of local hopefuls.

Others include Darren Baker from Moura in the two-wheel drives.

Baker crashed out and Did Not Finish (DNF) in last year's Wowan rally and he has just finished rebuilding his car in time for this weekend's race.

Rocky driver Wayne Menzies in the turbo all-wheel drives DNF in the Round 1 rally at Manumbar in March.

"Wayne will be keen to do well at Wowan and score some championship points in this Round 2 event," Weston said.

Another Rocky driver, Mark Byrne, is leading the two-wheel Queensland Rally Championship after finishing seventh outright at Manumbar. He'll be keen to add to his championship points lead.

Finally, local junior female navigator Megan Benson will partner with driver Wayne Morton, the 2013 junior Queensland champion.

Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines, because all roads lead to Wowan.

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