The peaceful Queensland town of Imbil was rocked this weekend as over fifty entrants for the International Rally of Queensland rolled into town. International drivers competing in the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship, competitors for the Australian Rally Championship, and home-grown heroes striving for the place in the third round of the Queensland Rally Championship rolled into the small town to compete alongside one another in the massive triple-rally event.
IRoQ has a long history in QLD, with its precursor Rally Queensland operating since 1968, and is the longest running round of the Australian Rally Championship. Hosted by the Brisbane Sporting Car Club, the event is a major draw-card for drivers and spectators alike, and this year was no exception. With the APRC covering almost 40% of the world’s rally population, IRoQ offers a unique mixed-class of rallying that provides many thrills and plenty of spills.
Pontius Tideman and co-driver Emil Axelsson took out their second win of three rounds in the APRC after their duel with Gustav Gill was cut short just 30km’s from finishing the weekend, a hole in the engine blowing out their chances at claiming second place, and pushing New Zealand crew Mike Young and Malcolm Reid into an unexpected second place. When asked about the win, Tidemand’s replied that it was “quite boring that Gustav retired. I had a good feeling in the last leg and I was looking forward to having the battle but that’s rally. For sure I am happy that we got here and the victory. It is good for me in the Championship. The team has done a fantastic job, the car, the tyres – everything. I enjoyed this country, it is nice to be here.”
Placing fourth in the APRC, Australians Eli Evans and co-driver Glenn Weston simultaneously secured the win in the third round of the Australian Rally Championship in a seven-minute lead over rival Adrian Coppin. “Three rallies and three most stage wins, we’ll take that!” Teams will have to wait a few months to resume the chase for the Australian Championship, as they prepare for their biggest event of the year in conjunction with the World Rally Championship in Coffs Harbour in September.
Ian Menzies took out the third round of the Queensland Rally Championship, followed in closely by Wayne Menzies, both thrashing their Mitsubishi Lancer Evo’s to their limits in the Imbil Forest. The pair have been long-standing competitors, with just 49 seconds separating them over this weekend. Long-term spectators are keen to watch the pair battle it out in the remaining rounds of the QRC later this year.
Australian Motorsport Photography had six photographers covering the action on track and at HQ over the weekend. Check out the gallery at ausmotophoto.com.au or find us on facebook.