Former Supercars driver Alex Ruhl will make his debut in the Australian Rally Championship next weekend at his home competition in Western Australia.
The 21-year-old is no stranger to rally or gravel when about seven years ago, along with Alistair McRae (Colin’s brother), his navigator and teacher, he participated in Hyundai Excel on gravel at a local event.
Since then, Ruhl has participated in Supercars full-time for Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport, as well as in the inaugural TCR Australia Series with Kelly Racing.
To return to the rally, Rula will drive the 2006 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX Race Torque Engineering and will have an experienced co-driver along with Steve Glenny, who finished second in the 2018 ARC.
“I’m very excited to do this because I’ve always wanted to try a gravel rally since I started racing cars, and I feel like I’m going back to where I started,” Rula said.
“It’s going to be a huge learning experience and I think the biggest challenge will be learning to listen to Steve and understand the notes because I’m not the best listener and it’s all alien to me.
“We used to be stressed because there weren’t many experienced navigators, but then we were able to capture Steve, which was a fantastic success.
“He brought me to speed very well and sent me a bunch of information to help me understand how he’s calling so we could be on the same page.”
Rula’s goal is just to cover all the kilometers and learn as much as he can. He said that in the short stages, most likely, will try harder.
“The goal will be to just finish it and keep it clean if I can,” Rula added.
“I think we will be slower before the event, but I hope I can improve while the rally continues. There are smaller stages that go through the Speedway, including the Power Stage, so maybe I may have a crack because I can prepare well for it.
“It’s going to be a pretty challenging task, but watching Shane van Gisbergen aboard, it seemed like he got used to it pretty quickly and felt comfortable with the car and the conditions.
“Obviously, he’s on a different level, and I wasn’t surprised that he was able to adapt so quickly because he’s just built differently, but it was a little reassuring to see how the drivers of the circuit are doing so well.
“That said, it doesn’t change my expectations regarding the round, as the whole ARC field is very competitive and I have a lot of respect for all of them and what they do.
“I’m just looking forward to the process and the difficult tasks that await me. I feel good about having a crack. ”
Rula will be tested on the eve of the event, he hopes to get as much information as possible during the test.
“As for the car itself, it has just arrived in Perth, so I will finally have the opportunity to test it before this week’s test session,” he continued.
“Everything is very fresh and we didn’t have much training, but we will definitely make the most of Thursday’s testing before the event.
“I have an extremely talented navigator and I know the car is very fast, so I consider myself a weak spot, but I’m still waiting for that.”
The WA Rally is taking place in the Banbury and Nanap forests from May 20 to 22.
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