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Old 04-07-2011, 11:13 AM   #1
Bluefoton
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Default SUV rally championship in 2012

Soft-roaders from brands such as Subaru and Toyota could soon be tackling twisting dirt roads following an announcement from the Australian Rally Championship that there will be a new SUV contest in 2012.

The new rally championship category comes as a direct result of a call for an SUV competition from Subaru Australia’s managing director Nick Senior at the launch of the hardcore S-Edition Forester late in 2010.

The rules and regulations of the competition have yet to be confirmed, but it will be open to SUVs of all shapes and sizes which will run in “production plus” trim level – meaning modifications to suspension, exhaust, brakes and safety equipment (including the addition of rollcages) will be the only changes allowed.

A spokesman for the Australian Rally Championship, Jon Thomson, told Drive the idea of seeing SUVs fulfilling their intended purpose on dirt roads should attract a number of competitors – and increase the fan-base for rallying in Australia. “It’s really the perfect medium for SUVs because it’s mainly on dirt roads,” Thomson says. “The majority of SUVs are driven in metro areas and around the city, but the image of them is about driving on dirt and gravel and being able to take you to the places you want to go on the weekend.”
Thomson says likely candidates include petrol-powered SUVs such as Subaru’s S-Edition Forester and Toyota’s V6-powered RAV4, with turbo diesel entrants also likely.

Subaru says the ARC’s decision to add an SUV championship is an interesting one, but said it would wait until the official details of the competition are revealed at the Australian leg of the World Rally Championship in September.

Toyota is also interested to see what the championship will involve, with spokesman Mike Breen confirming Toyota will “have a look at it”.
In the longer term the SUV category could be split for different sizes of vehicles, but Thomson says that despite weight differences of up to 400 kilograms, all competitors would fight for the one championship during the first few years.

Despite a rally-bred version of Mini’s Countryman SUV lining up to compete in the 2011 World Rally Championship, the brand’s local arm says it has no plans for a 2012 entry in the ARC SUV competition.
Volkswagen is also wary of getting involved in the competition despite its domination of the Dakar rally, renowned as the world’s most gruelling off-road event.

Mazda Australia says it has no plans to join the Australian Rally Championship at this stage, as its focus is on tarmac rallying.


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Old 04-07-2011, 11:15 AM   #2
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eeew, that is SO wrong....maybe they'll add the Minvan Champeenship next?
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Old 04-07-2011, 02:15 PM   #3
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Hey now! There is nothing wrong with rallying an SUV.
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Old 04-07-2011, 02:35 PM   #4
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Hey now! There is nothing wrong with rallying an SUV.
hey now, y'all know thet trucks is differnt
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Old 04-07-2011, 03:57 PM   #5
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I'm upgrading this year to a Cherokee though...
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Old 04-07-2011, 04:42 PM   #6
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did the Jeep p/u croak?


back on topic: I bet a Fozzy XT could clean house in this Oz SUV series. The Foz platform would accept all manner of bolt-on Group N rally bits from the GD chassis WRX. The "production only" bit wouldn't be a big limitation since the XT comes with pretty serious hardware straight from the assembly line. Just think of it, a "King Kong Oz Foz" that's basically a full-on Group N car under the soccer mom body.
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Old 04-07-2011, 05:47 PM   #7
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VW wouldn't want to build a non-toureg rally suv, would they?

http://elsolonline.com/archivos/imag...211601-240.jpg
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Old 04-07-2011, 06:13 PM   #8
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drool at the mudflaps
Cornering will be one part of such a rally to watch closely...and from a safe distance
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Old 04-07-2011, 07:54 PM   #9
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The only up side I could to this spreading is if it generated were more safari rally (Dakar) events to go along with it. Then I'd cage my Landcruiser 100...
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Old 04-07-2011, 08:15 PM   #10
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did the Jeep p/u croak?
I blew the motor in Maine - that's why you might not have seen us after stage 5

Decided that it was just easier/cheaper to build a 4L Cherokee since I could save 2 feet on wheelbase
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Old 04-07-2011, 08:29 PM   #11
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This is Subaru's ploy to "clean house" with their "truck classed" outback and forester
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Old 04-08-2011, 10:33 AM   #12
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interesting news , i do hope they get it sorted out
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Old 04-08-2011, 10:46 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sureshot007 View Post
I blew the motor in Maine - that's why you might not have seen us after stage 5

Decided that it was just easier/cheaper to build a 4L Cherokee since I could save 2 feet on wheelbase
You're making me miss my XJ... love that inline 6 it's bomb-proof! Add that to it's amazing 50/50 weight distribution and you have one of the best out-of-the-box rallycross platforms out there (IMHO)

Back on topic... this "SUV" class would be an obvious win for Subaru; what would be their closest competition? Turbodiesel Touareg? Would be cool if HEMI Grand Cherokee entered into the same class, seeing as the best Jeep ever (XJ) ended production at 2,000,000+ units 10 years ago.
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Old 04-08-2011, 11:01 AM   #14
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we are currently running an 04 Foz XT 5-spd as a recce rig. 2.5 motor with big turbo and lotsa boosht, stock 4.44 gearbox, limited slip rear diff, big off-road tires...hoooeee, it's a hooligan stealthmobile -- or would be except for the fart-can exhaust which got me pulled over by the Quebec state police who wanted to impound car on the spot (he heard us go by while in his car writing up another perp)

for some strange reason the stock XT struts do not seem up to recce duty...why do you spoze they wore out in less than a year? (I'm sure whacking toaster-size rocks at 40 mph had nothing to do with this?)
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Old 04-08-2011, 11:03 AM   #15
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I used my n/a forester for recce at stpr last year, and I must say it worked really well. Sadly, it was faster than the rally truck
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