Rally-turned-rallycross driver Sloan Cox is pleased with a third place finish in his first event in the rapidly growing Australian rallycross series.
The event, last weekend, helped the 26-year-old Rotorua driver gain valuable experience to take into his next RX Academy round in Finland next month.
Offered the opportunity to contest a round of the 2018 Australian Rallycross Series (RXAus), Cox was keen to gain further on-track experience, particularly in a front-wheel-drive car similar to the one he uses for the RX Academy.
Cox said the event at Marulan circuit, about two hours south of Sydney, provided "another big weekend of learning". He competed in the Open 2WD class in a Ford Fiesta owned by Rallycross Australia director Justin Dowell.
"There were five in our class and, for me, it's about learning more about front-wheel-drive and how they handle on the tarmac sections of the mixed gravel and tarmac rallycross tracks.
"We raced on a new track – it was finished only a week earlier following a $3 million upgrade as a serious rallycross circuit. It was fantastic. I felt the car handled really well and I learnt a lot to take back to the RX Academy in three weeks."
After finishing third in the final heat, Cox was third on the grid for the semifinal, but finished fourth.
"That race was six laps and the brakes were getting pretty hot. Our crew sorted the problem so I could give it my best shot for the final. I started fourth on the outside going into the first corner. I stuck close to the back of the two Escorts who had the lead.
"When the driver in the Polo in fourth did his joker lap, I held off doing mine until a bit later, coming back into the main track close to the leaders and ahead of him to finish third. I was really pleased to show more speed in the final and be a bit closer to the guys in front.
"A big thanks for Justin Dowell for the whole weekend. He and Troy, who's in the RX Academy with me, looked after me well."
Cox would be delighted to take out the RX Academy winner's prize – a fully-funded drive in five European races in the RX2 International Series or a full season in the FIA European Rallycross Championship for Super1600.
After the June 16 round in Honkajoki, Finland, Cox has three more RX Academy events – August 11 in Jalasjärvi, August 25 in Kouvola and the final on October 7 at Tierps in Sweden.