Rally of Canberra

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The Rally of Canberra is an automobile rally event which was held in and around Canberra, Australian Capital Territory first held in 1988. The event is currently a round of the Australian Rally Championship (ARC); it has been part of the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) in the past.


The modern Rally of Canberra began in 1988, but the attraction of forest roads through steep terrain so close to a city has been attracting rallying to the Canberra for years. Previously the Castrol International Rally was held in much the same area utilising some of the same stage roads. Run throughout much of the 1970s the rally attracted international teams and drivers from the World Cup and World Championship teams. The last of the old style event was held in 1980 although the rally continued into 1981 on a smaller scale.[1]

The new rally was created as an ARC round in 1988, quickly becoming a popular event amongst crews and spectators. The initial event was won by that year's national champion, Queenslander Murray Coote aboard a Mazda 323 GTX. The event rapidly grew in stature, becoming second only to the similarly aged Rally Australia in prestige amongst Australian events.

The event become part of the APRC in 1999,[2] returning international rallying to the Canberra region, attracting entries from teams in New Zealand, and most of the Asian rallying nations. Changing regulations in the ARC, in particular its emphasis on local classes, first the PRC (Production Rally Class) and later Group N+, as typified by the Neal Bates Motorsport constructed turbo 4WD Toyota Corolla Sportivo saw the event dropped from the ARC calendar as several of its competitors were not eligible to compete under the APRC regulations which consisted of the World Rally Car and Group N classes.

In more recent times the APRC has become a Group N only championship like many other regional and national championships. ARC regulations since 2006 though have instead of a single two day rally instead have two single day rallies over the course of weekend, giving the opportunity for cars that retire on the Saturday of an event to rejoin on the Sunday. This format has seen the ARC competitors return to Canberra racing with the APRC cars but essentially the rally is now two completely different events, run simultaneously over the same stages, the International Rally of Canberra for APRC competitors and the National Rally of Canberra for ARC competitors. Group N teams can compete in both events if they nominate for both.

The nature of this combination has given rise to a rivalry between APRC and ARC competitors as to who can complete the event in the shortest time. In 2008 for the first time an ARC competitor, Simon Evans completed the rally in a faster time than any of the APRC competitors, although strangely Evans did not win the ARC round after only placing third place at the end of Saturdays rally, thus collecting fewer points than his team mate Neal Bates who won Saturday and was second to Evans on Sunday.


One of the biggest attractions of the Rally of Canberra, and the Castrol International before it, is the special stage called 'The Mineshaft'. The name originates from a section of the stage which plunges very sharply downwards towards a water crossing. It is a drop sharp enough that even the most cautious competitor will get airborne over the lip of the drop. Over the years the section has been regraded, softening the plunge but it is still a favourite for spectators, who grade the drivers going over the drop with scorecards, a tradition dating back to the Castrol International which has been attributed to an infamous troupe of Bathurst based rally officials and competitors known as the Killer Mullet Rally Team.

Controversially, the Mineshaft stage was dropped from the 2008 event for safety reasons.[3]


Winners of previous editions of the Rally of Canberra were:[4][5]

Year Driver Co-Driver Car
1988 Murray Coote Iain Stewart Mazda 323 GTX
1989 Ross Dunkerton Mitsubishi Galant VR-4
1990 Ross Dunkerton Mitsubishi Galant VR-4
1991 Ross Dunkerton Mitsubishi Lancer Evo
1992 Possum Bourne Rodger Freeth Subaru Liberty RS
1993 Ed Ordynski Mitsubishi Lancer Evo
1994 Ross Dunkerton Mitsubishi Lancer Evo
1995 Neal Bates Coral Taylor Toyota Celica GT-Four
1996 Possum Bourne Craig Vincent Subaru Impreza WRX
1997 Neal Bates Coral Taylor Toyota Celica GT-Four
1999 Yoshihiro Kataoka Satoshi Hayashi Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VI
2000 Possum Bourne Mark Stacey Subaru Impreza WRX
2001 Possum Bourne Craig Vincent Subaru Impreza WRC
2002 Ed Ordynski Iain Stewart Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VII
2003 Cody Crocker Greg Foletta Subaru Impreza WRX STI
2004 Dean Herridge Bill Hayes Subaru Impreza WRX STI
2005 Cody Crocker Dale Moscatt Subaru Impreza WRX STI
Year International
2006 Cody Crocker Dale Moscatt Subaru Impreza WRX STI Neal Bates Coral Taylor Toyota Corolla Sportivo
2007 Cody Crocker Subaru Impreza WRX STI Simon Evans Sue Evans Toyota Corolla Sportivo
2008 Cody Crocker Ben Atkinson Subaru Impreza WRX STI Neal Bates Coral Taylor Toyota Corolla S2000


  1. ^ "Subaru Rally of Canberra". Australian Capital Region Online. Retrieved 2008-05-17. [dead link]
  2. ^ "Subaru Rally of Canberra". Australian Capital Region Online. Retrieved 2008-05-17. [dead link]
  3. ^ MERRYN SHERWOOD (2008-05-09). "Iconic drop deleted". The Canberra Times. Retrieved 2008-05-17. 
  4. ^ "Past Seasons". rally.com.au. Archived from the original on 2008-05-01. Retrieved 2008-05-17. 
  5. ^ "Rally of Canberra Roll of Honour". rallybase.nl. Retrieved 2008-05-17.