Shane van Gisbergen to make ARC debut

Supercars Champion, Shane van Gisbergen, will compete in the opening round of the RSEA Safety Motorsport Australia Rally Championship in April this year, the Netier National Capital Rally in Canberra.

The New Zealander will drive the top spec Skoda Fabia R5 rally car, prepared by Race Torque Engineering.

Red BullWith support from Red Bull, Harvey Norman, Omen and Hoosier, van Gisbergen will challenge the likes of Toyota Gazoo Racing Australia’s Harry and Lewis Bates for top honours at the event.

Having been a part of several rally events in New Zealand, van Gisbergen is no stranger to the rallying scene, but this will be the first time he competes in Australia’s national championship.

Experienced co-driver, Glen Weston, will sit alongside van Gisbergen at the event. Weston has won three national championships with Eli Evans and knows the Canberra roads well. Weston was a co-driver for many of the country’s top talents, including Scott Pedder, Molly Taylor and Dean Herridge.

Weston and van Gisbergen will also take part in the championship’s official pre-season test day and season launch in Canberra on 8 March, following the Supercars Championship’s opener at Sydney Motorsport Park the weekend prior.

The livery for the Skoda R5 will be released soon, while broadcast details for the 2022 RSEA Safety Motorsport Australia Rally Championship season are expected to be announced in the coming weeks.

The Netier National Capital Rally will be held on 1-3 April, with the event’s service park to be based out of the Driving Training Centre near the entry to Kowen Forest.

Spectator information will be available on closer to the event, with free spectating expected to be available across the weekend.

As the event draws closer, van Gisbergen said he is looking forward to the challenge.

“Rally drivers are the best-of-the-best. You’re driving a car as fast as you can and it’s on gravel, it’s so foreign to me, listening to someone else tell you where to go.

“It’s an awesome challenge and I want to see if I can adapt and get better and better at it and hopefully have a proper go at it.

“I’ve always grown up with rally, but it’s nerve-wracking to finally be in the national series in a proper car. I’ve dipped the toe in the water in New Zealand… but to do a championship round is going to be pretty tough to jump straight in.

“I’ll try and study as much film as I can to see the roads and see how people approach it. I’ll be playing on my sim a lot, I’ve got a HP Omen at home, I’ll play the DiRT Rally game on that and learn to process the notes, how to approach things and get my brain thinking about that.

“I can’t wait to get out there and throw some stones.”

 Motorsport Australia Director of Motorsport & Commercial Operations, Michael Smith, said having van Gisbergen competing in the opening round of the championship shows the strength of Australian rallying.

“We couldn’t be more excited to welcome Shane to the Netier National Capital Rally,” Smith said.

“Motorsport Australia is delighted to have Red Bull’s support for both this initiative and also as a sponsor of the ARC itself. There’s a lot of excitement about our pre-season test day in March, as well as the opening round in Canberra in April.

“No doubt Shane will have his work cut out for him with all of our ARC regulars eager to not let the Supercars champion cause an upset on their home turf. It will be a terrific event for both competitors and spectators.”

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