Shane van Gisbergen will thrash a Skoda Fabia R5 rally car around the back roads of Canberra later this year in the opening round of the 2022 Australian Rally Championship.
The defending Supercars champion has locked in a one-off drive for the event, which sees him return to the rally discipline after a brief pause.
It was less than two years ago when the 32-year-old took up rallying.
He claimed a class victory on debut in the Auckland City Rally before winning the inaugural Battle of Jack’s Ridge rally sprint no less than a day later.
Since then, there hasn’t been too much going on for van Gisbergen outside the circuit racing scene.
But that looks to finally be about to change.
“Rally drivers are the best-of-the-best,” he said. “You’re driving a car as fast as you can, and it’s on gravel. It’s so foreign to me, listening to someone else tell you where to go.
“I’ve dipped the toe in the water in New Zealand, but to do a championship round is going to be pretty tough to jump straight in.”
Van Gisbergen says he won’t be doing the full championship but instead tackling the opportunity for a bit of light-hearted enjoyment.
“I don’t set any goals; I’ll just go there and have fun.”
Rallying has always been in van Gisbergen’s blood.
His father, Robert, competed in several New Zealand rallies across the ’80s and ’90s.
“I’ve always grown up with rally, but it’s nerve-wracking to finally be in the national series in a proper car.”
Alongside his father’s success, Shane’s passion for rallying also stemmed from a love of Possum Bourne.
“[Bourne] was from just down the road where I was. He was coming over here and smoking all the Aussies, so I always supported him.”
Van Gisbergen has a test run in the R5 next month ahead of the National Capital Rally in Canberra on April 1-3.