Ian Plenderleith’s back and set to tackle the full Pipe King Southern Cross Rally Series

BATHURST driver Ian Plenderleith is excited about the prospect of contesting the first round of the Pipe King Southern Cross Rally Series in Oberon this weekend.

Last year’s issues, ranging from a sticking throttle, shattered windscreen and broken gearbox, meant his return has taken a little longer than expected.

The team, which includes with Canberra based co-driver Mel McMinn, is now aiming to compete in the full 2017 rally season, including rounds in Bega and Orange.

The car, a Lancer Evolution III, was campaigned by Pedders Australia. It won the ACT State championship, before coming into Plenderleith’s ownership.

“It is just brilliant to drive, it really has the feel of a car that wants to be driven hard, it is planted and controlled, but also very responsive,” Plenderleith said.

While plans were in place to rebuild the gearbox over the summer, delays have resulted in only a very basic program of maintenance.

"Nigel at Buttriss Smash Repairs offered to get the gearbox out for me, but it just became unrealistic with my schedule unfortunately,” Plenderleith explained.

Looking toward the rest of year, plans are well underway for a big 2017.

“I am excited the see what the venerable Evo III is capable of both at individual rallies and over the course of the full season,” crew member Matt Walther said.

READY TO RALLY: Bathurst's Ian Plenderleith will tackle the first round of the Pipe King Southern Cross Rally Series in Oberon this weekend. Photo: STEVE ASHELFORD, RALLYETRACK PHOTOGRAPHY

READY TO RALLY: Bathurst's Ian Plenderleith will tackle the first round of the Pipe King Southern Cross Rally Series in Oberon this weekend. Photo: STEVE ASHELFORD, RALLYETRACK PHOTOGRAPHY