Rally champ downplays advantage - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Rally champ downplays advantage

22/04/2005 05:43:34 PM Comments (0)

Defending Rally of Canberra champion Dean Herridge says going first won't be a huge advantage when the Australian rallying season begins in the nation's capital this weekend.

With the dust is sure to be flying and long-dominant Subaru the hot favourites, Herridge and national champion Cody Crocker are both tipped to be lead the field.

Conditions in the dry Canberra region are certain to be dusty, giving top seed Herridge an advantage as the first driver on the course, ahead of Japan's Toshi Arai in another Subaru Impreza, another Japanese driver, Katsu Taguchi, in a Mitsubishi Lancer and then Crocker.

But Herridge doesn't view it that way, and says as lead driver he will have to rely solely on his own knowledge of the course and can't follow in others tracks.

"There won't be marks on the roads to tell-tale any problems or show the best lines, so my new co-driver, Bill Hayes, and I will have to go out there and absolutely commit ourselves to our pace notes," Herridge said.

Finn Juha Kangas, entering his third season in Australia but switching from a Mitsubishi to a Subaru, is the fifth seed, ahead of Mitsubishi Ralliart's recruit Scott Pedder in the local factory team's first Evolution VIII-model Lancer.

It is the first outright contender built by Mitsubishi Ralliart chief Alan Heaphy, who was formerly associated with Mark Skaife and Wayne Gardner in V8 Supercars and fielded an automatic Mitsubishi Magna VR-X in which rally legend Ross Dunkerton won last year's Australia Cup.

As a privateer Pedder has twice been on the podium in Canberra but crashed early in last year's rally and is hoping that his promotion to a factory drive will bring him better luck and results.

Nineteen cars, including 10 from overseas, will compete for outright honours, with another 29 in the Capital Rally for those not eligible for the overall classifications.

Among those 29 are the prototype Toyota Corollas of Canberra's triple national champion Neal Bates and lightning-fast Victorian Simon Evans, who is starting his second season with Toyota but has never had good fortune in Canberra.

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