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Clancy Harrip

MTAQ Racing Team heads south for X3 Nationals

It has been quite a spell between events for the MTAQ Racing team and other Hyundai Excel X3 Series competitors, but it won’t be long now until the national 2017 champion is crowned.

The contingent of Queenslanders heading to the national championships at Wakefield Park in NSW on the 18 and 19 November is strong. Leading the charge will be defending National champion, and prolific X3 campaigner, my old pal Cam Wilson. If I was betting on the outcome, the savvy Gold coaster would start a short-priced favourite. Our 2016 State champion, young gun Cam Bartholomew, has been dominant at state level and will take some beating. Current Queensland championship leader Brock Giblin is also heading south and will be right in the hunt. 

And then, there is us. The MTAQRT is something of an unknown quantity as we enter our fourth ever race meeting. What we do know is each time we have hit the track we have improved in big chunks, and after a recent test session (and another raft of upgrades) we also know we have a car that is improved since it last saw combat. 

Just how good it is, we will see. 

Coupled with the intense competition is a complex system for making the championship Grand final race at the event. Split qualifying sessions, a Top 10 shootout, and a series of heat and repechage races will decide the order for the decider.

And it will be battle. The final will be held over 23 laps of the Wakefield Park circuit – that’s 2.5 times the distance we normally race at state level. In ‘Hyundai land’, this is practically an endurance race. Managing engine temperature, brake condition and tyre performance will all play a massive part in the outcome. The fastest car over a single lap will very likely not win the race - it will be a chess game as much as a sprint - and this sort of thing is right in our wheelhouse. I can’t wait. 

This will be by our toughest assignment yet. If we can come home in the top 10, we can give ourselves a big pat on the back. I think that is a realistic goal as we continue our learning curve with an eye to giving the title a serious shake in 2018. 

I am very confident that in any case, the National trophy will be coming back to Queensland. 

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