Subaru versus Toyota 2018

It’s been a long time since there was a Subaru versus Toyota battle in any rally championship. Back in the 90’s the two manufacturers fought it out fiercely in the WRC. At the time Prodrive WRX versus TTE Celica was a big budget, high stakes game.

21 years on

Over 20 years since those cars faced off at world level it was repeated in the WA Rally Championship during 2018. Strangely the duel was fought out by two cars in the same team… Our team.

Internal Duelling

The two main protagonists were Brad Nowell in his Subaru WRX STi and Mark Keltie in his Toyota Celica GT4. Both cars have a similar specification however the older Toyota is heavier than the Subaru.

2018 WA Rally Championship

Round 1 – The Karri Rally

The Karri Rally at the beginning of the season was a good start for the whole Rally Action team. The results were consistent with Mark leading Brad by eight points. They were 2nd and 3rd respective in the championship with Chard Marshall taking the early lead in his WRX.

Round 2 – The Forest Rally

Round two was a challenging event to say the least. The two and a half days of the Forest Rally were tough. On the first day Mark and co-driver Jessica put the Celica off the road and dropped a few stages. They didn’t score any points whereas Brad and co-driver Richard finished 2nd and gained 50 valuable points.

Day Two of the Forest Rally was a role reversal. Mark and Jessica did well finishing 2nd without a hitch. Brad and Richard had a few troubles and finished the day with half points. In the Subaru versus Toyota battle, Brad in the WRX led. He was now 14.5 points ahead in the championship.

Round 3 – Boddington Safari Rally

The Boddington Safari Rally on the June long weekend added another challenger to the championship mix. Barry McGuinness entered his WRX and the Subaru versus Toyota battle scales seemed a little more one sided.

Barry and co-driver Glenn Alcorn took the top points with Mark and stand in co-driver Jon White finishing 2nd. Brad and Richard had troubles with a failed front differential and managed 3rd place. The WRX was still leading the Subaru versus Toyota battle however the lead had been whittled down to just 6.5 points.

Round 4 – Kirup Stages Rally

Round four at the Kirup Stages rally was a disaster for the Rally Action team. Not one of the four cars we entered finished the rally. Brad and Richard went off the road and got stuck on the very last stage. Mark had not entered the Kirup stages rally as he was away on holidays. Chard Marshall also retired so the points went to Barry McGuinness, another win for Subaru. No points for any of our team though.

Round 5 – Experts Cup Rally

The season was cut short by one round in 2018. It meant the decider in the Subaru versus Toyota battle and the WA Rally championship would be the Experts Cup rally. Brad missed the event, away on holidays so it was Mark’s move. The rally was challenging however Mark and new co-driver Graham Mogg kept level heads. They didn’t push too hard and settled for 2nd place behind Barry and Glenn.

Toyota snatches the win

Despite the WRX’s leading for most of the year, the Celica came through in the end. Brad finished on 193.5 points, Barry finished on 240 points and Mark won with 255 points. As Mark had three different co-drivers during the year Glenn Alcorn took the honours for co-driver points.

A pleasant surprise for Rally Action

For the whole Rally Action team it was a pleasant and unexpected victory. We’d had a tough season and the championship win meant a great boost in morale. For Mark and the Celica GT4 it was his second championship win, a successful title defence.

The 1995 world rally championship was the last time the WRX and the Celica GT4 were neck a neck in the Subaru versus Toyota battle. Subaru won that year and afterwards Toyota never campaigned the Celica again. 2018 may just have been the chance for Toyota to even the score….