12 May 2011
SMART SET FOR QUEENSLAND
Toyota Corolla driver Ryan Smart is pumped and ready for action at this weekend's International Rally of Queensland following his maiden victory in the Quit Forest Rally WA.
Testing on Wednesday has brought further confidence to the Smart Motorsport team, with some minor changes providing additional pace.
"We're on the pace, and the conditions have dried up and we have some really fine weather, so we're feeling very confident," Ryan said.
"We've got some new brake pads from Barry Smith Motorsport, and they have helped immensely.
"John Allen, my new co-driver, is also pushing me really hard to get my pace notes up to scratch so we can stay up the front."
With the team hailing from Queensland, this weekend's rally is its home event and the team is looking forward to racing on familiar roads.
"There are roads in the forest that we've used for the last three or four years in a row; so I refine my pace notes and they get better and better each year," Ryan said.
"Being familiar and comfortable is one thing, but the roads change and they are never the same as the year before. You're in for something different
every time, as gravel roads can be quite unpredictable."
With the new unrestricted ARC formula this year, it could be reasonable to expect that the Smart Motorsport Corolla - developed under the previous category regulations - would be at a disadvantage.
However, the years of development that have gone into the Corolla through Bates Motorsport and Toyota Australia has led to a car that is fast and reliable.
"We think it's just as competitive on the dirt - not so much on the tarmac, but as you know, dirt and tarmac are very different," Ryan said.
"It seems that once we get out into the forest, I'm simply trying to out-drive the other guys.
"A car doesn't need to have oodles of horsepower to be fast on gravel, we've got a proven package, and we're using that to our advantage."
The Smart Motorsport Toyota Corolla will be competing in the International Rally of Queensland on the Sunshine Coast, across the weekend of 13-15 May.