^Three-time Australian rally champion, Cody Crocker, will make his tarmac debut at this weekend's Mt Buller Sprint (November 4-6), driving a Subaru Impreza WRX STI prepared by Tasmanian-based Les Walkden Rallying.
Three-time Australian rally champion, Cody Crocker, will make his tarmac debut at this weekend's Mt Buller Sprint (November 4-6), driving a Subaru Impreza WRX STI prepared by Tasmanian-based Les Walkden Rallying.
Crocker's credentials on gravel are exemplary, having this year added the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship to his collection of three outright and four Group N national titles.
But he has never raced on tarmac and the only occasions that the Victorian has even driven to Mt Buller were to pursue his passion for snow sports over a decade.
Crocker moved to the Les Walkden Rallying outfit for the 2006 APRC campaign, and the team, having already secured that title with a round in China still to come, has decided to run a tarmac-spec 2006 Impreza at Mt Buller, with a view to exploring further tarmac opportunities in 2007.
Crocker is delighted to have another challenge ahead.
"Tarmac is certainly a new surface to me and it's really exciting to have the opportunity to be out there giving it a go."
"We'll learn a lot I'm sure, and there's no doubt that the tarmac rallying format is growing in popularity everywhere."
"We're out there with a brand new car and we've only done a limited amount of testing with it down at Baskerville in Hobart this week, so we're not entirely sure how we'll go."
"I enjoyed the testing and by the end of it I was feeling pretty comfortable. The weather worked a treat so we got to do testing in the dry and the wet."
"Dean Herridge took an Impreza to third place in his Mt Buller debut in January, and if we can come close to matching that we'd be delighted."
"People like Jim Richards and Tony Quinn are very experienced at this sort of racing, and there is a lot of depth in the field, so we know we are up against a lot of class, both in terms of drivers and cars."
"It's not going to be easy but it should be fun. Having spent so much time this year racing in hot spots like Malaysia and Indonesia, it will be a very nice change to compete where - I'm hoping - it'll be nice and cool."
Crocker will once again be in the car with co-driver, Ben Atkinson.
The event starts on Saturday morning (November 4) with two runs up the 16 kilometre long stage and a further three runs on both Sunday and Monday.