Reigning Supercars champion Shane van Gisbergen champions Canberra Rally | The Canberra Times

News, Latest News, Rally, Shane van Gisbergen, Motorsports, V8 Supercars, Innate Motorsports, Jill Coppin, Dougal Wilson

Reigning Supercars champion Shane van Gisbergen will compete at this year’s National Capital Rally in a major odds coup for the organizers. The New Zealander, who won his second Supercars title with Holden last year, was keen to drive at the Kowen Forest circuit in April and NCR officials were quick to accommodate his request to take part in the Australian Rally Championship opener. The annual Canberra Rally takes place April 1-3 between rounds two and three of this year’s Supercars series. “Rally drivers are the best of the best,” said van Gisbergen. “You’re driving a car as fast as you can and it’s on gravel, it’s so alien to me to listen to someone else tell you where to go. “It’s a great challenge and I want to see if I can adapt and get better and better at it and hopefully make a real effort. “I always grew up with rallies, but finally being in a real car in the national series is nerve-wracking. I dipped my toe in the water in New Zealand… but doing a championship lap is going to be pretty hard to jump right in.” MORE SPORT IN CANBERRA The 32-year-old will drive the top-of-the-line Skoda Fabia R5 rally car prepared by Race Torque Engineering and sitting alongside Glen Weston, who has won three Australian titles and is navigating for Eli Evans.He will take on Canberra’s Harry Bates, who won the last full edition of the Australian Rally Championship.Covid forced an early end to the 2020 and 2021 seasons. The season-opening rally in Canberra was one of just two events to be held alongside the Queensland weekend at Gympie in 2021. It’s left a huge appetite among both competitors and fans alike for the sport’s return, and the reception of van Gisbergen has fueled it triggered an avalanche of interest even before the start of the season.”The good thing is that there are viewers from de “Attracts V8 supercars because they’re equally interested in seeing how one of our favorites stacks up against the regular rally drivers,” said Dougal Wilson, President of Brindabella Motor Sport Club. “We see it with rally drivers who are racing on tarmac all the time, but it’s quite unusual for it to go the other way. “We’re hoping to see a boost, particularly in terms of television audiences. You don’t have to physically get up and go anywhere, it’s being broadcast on Channel Seven and the other news outlets – it’s relevant not just for rallies but for Canberra too.” Wilson and his team have spent the last seven months promoting Kowen Forest to develop this year’s circuit. “Competitors came to us at the end of the event [last year] and say, ‘This is the best friggin’ stage I’ve run in three years,'” Wilson said. “This is the reward for spending hours and hours and hours in the forest. Hopefully people will also say on TV how good the roads are in Canberra and how good the roads are for the future.” Jill Coppin, managing director at Innate Motorsport, which helps organize the Australian Rally Championship, was delighted with the inclusion by van Gisbergen. “We’re so excited to have him, it’s such a fantastic rally,” Coppin said. “It’s just exciting to have someone of Shane’s caliber on the event, it’s going to create a great atmosphere, a great feeling and I think it will also attract a new audience to rallies.”


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