HRT x 2: HRT now also stands for Holden Rally Team, with Jackaroos wearing the war paint instead of Commodores.
MOTOR racing legend Peter Brock will once again don a helmet and race suit to compete in this month's Australian Safari International Cross Country Rally.
The former touring car driver will join off-road champion Bruce Garland in a two-car, factory-backed Holden Rally Team entry, after the new team was unveiled in Sydney last week.
Both drivers will be behind the wheel of Jackaroos, although Garland will compete for outright Auto Division honours driving a specially modified vehicle in the Unlimited 4WD category, while Brock will line up in a standard Jackaroo V6 in the Showroom 4WD class.
Garland is a three-time winner and defending champion of the Safari, having taken wins in 1996, 1999 and 2000 in a Jackaroo with co-driver Harry Suzuki. He is ranked in the FIA's top 30 professional rally drivers and is Australia's most experienced off-road competitor, having raced successfully in many of the world's toughest off-road endurance rallies.
The off-road champion is expecting a tough battle to defend his title, but believes the Holden Rally Team is well placed for that defence.
"I expect it will be pretty fierce out there this year," he said. "However, the strength of the Holden Rally Team is in its infrastructure and people, which are areas we've concentrated on recently." Brock's exploits for Holden on the racetrack are legendary, but his off-road successes are also impressive. While his greatest off-road result came when he led home the famous 1-2-3 Holden Commodore victory in the 1979 Repco Round Australia Trial, he also scored a win in class and second overall driving a Jackaroo in the 1998 Playstation Round Australia Rally.
"This year I think the stability of the Holden-backed crew will be a key, as it brings a greater element of 'team' into play. The talents of the whole team will have a big bearing when you're relentlessly racing in these conditions for so long," Brock said.
The new rally team's Jackaroos will use a variation of the livery currently seen on the Holden Racing Team V8 Supercars, although it maintains the bright red paintwork as well as lions head and racing helmet symbols.
The Australian Safari begins with a prologue on the outskirts of Alice Springs on August 18, with the rally proper running from August 19-26.