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A bumper field has been confirmed for round two of the CAMS Australian Rally Championship with a 50-strong field lining up for next weekend’s Make Smoking History Forest Rally in Busselton, Western Australia.

ARC contenders will make the 4,000-kilometre trip across the Nullabour, where Maximum Motorsport’s Brad Markovic and John O'Dowd and co-drivers Toni Feaver and Kenneth Sheil will hold the all important home-soil advantage at the event.

The Make Smoking History Forest Rally could prove pivotal in the 2017 ARC with just three points separating the top three in the championship standings after the Eureka Rally in Ballarat last month—the chance to bank valuable championship points will produce a fierce battle. 

Toyota Genuine Parts’ Harry Bates and John McCarthy sit two points clear of Coffs Coast Rally Team’s Nathan Quinn and Ben Searcy and a further one point clear of Tankformers’ Eli Evans and Glen Weston. 

Evans was hoping to debut the new Mini Cooper AP4 at the West Australian event but with further development required, he will again compete in the Racetorque Engineering Peugeot Maxi 208.

Subaru do Motorsport’s Molly Taylor and co-driver Bill Hayes will be looking for a strong performance through the forests of Nannup and on the Busselton Super Special Stage as they find themselves 24 points adrift of championship leader Bates after round one. 

“With the injection of drivers like Harry (Bates) and Molly (Taylor) into the ARC over recent years, as well as series champions like Eli (Evans) and wildcards such as Nathan (Quinn) – who we saw stand on the podium in Victoria, we are going to see some very competitive racing out in the forest,” Forest Rally Event Director Ross Tapper said.

"With some new cars and drivers who are relatively inexperienced competing on the unique ball-bearing roads of Western Australia there will be plenty of action to catch over the weekend,” Tapper continued.

The Make Smoking History Forest Rally, in conjunction with round two of the CAMS Onslow Contracting WA Rally Championship, will be held in the picturesque towns of Busselton and Nannup from 21 – 23 April 2017.