The Tasmanian fans love their racing, but there are other great attractions luring two drivers to the Apple Isle a little early.
Lockwood Racing’s Fabian Coulthard and Jack Daniel’s Racing’s Rick Kelly yesterday popped over for a different kind of race preparation, ahead of next week’s Tyrepower Tasmania 400.
The Holden and Nissan rivals have the opportunity to experience the adrenaline rush of a high-wire zipline ride through the magnificent forests, as part of the Hollybank Treetops Adventure. Far above the forest floor, the zipline ride in the tree canopy is the best place to enjoy the wonders of Tasmania’s unique landscape.
Tasmania is Australia’s adventure playground with a diverse and ancient landscape offering fantastic outdoor experiences just a short distance from the major cities and towns. The state is renowned for its outdoor pursuits such as walking, hiking, cycling, kayaking, canyoning rock climbing and white water rafting. There are outdoor and adventure experiences to suit all levels of fitness and challenge on land, in the water and in the air.
More than one third of the state is National Park, Reserve or World Heritage protected wilderness so just being outdoors can be adventure enough ranging from a ‘short’ walk to something more adrenalin pumping; as Kelly and Coulthard can attest.
Lockwood Racing’s Couthard clocked up two race wins at last year’s event and said the pre-event nature session was a great way to get set for the next week's racing.
“This is awesome. It has been an amazing experience to see what Tassie has to offer. The views are incredible, the whole day has been great,” said Coulthard.
“Brad Jones Racing went really well in Tasmania last year. Lockwood Racing won two races and Brighty (teammate Jason Bright) won the other. We had a great weekend and it would be great to do it again this year.”
Driving for the second year in his Nissan Altima, Kelly was all about the adrenalin and adventure at Hollybank Treetops Adventure embracing what Mother Nature had to offer.
"I participated in the Mark Webber Challenge a few years ago and that opened my eyes to what Tasmania has to offer,” Kelly said.
“The rainforest was beautiful, it was very unique and a great way to spend the day. Ziplining through the treetops was incredible, you got that rush of adrenalin, spectacular views, it’s been fantastic.
“Tasmania is an untapped adventure source for everyone and if you’re like me who loves the great outdoors, there is plenty to do here.
“I’m excited to experience a part of Tasmania we don’t get to see when we go there to race. Tassie is also a very important round for us to build on the great points base we have from Clipsal that sees us sitting fourth in the Championship."
Coulthard and Kelly are sure to have a fierce rivalry take over once on the Symmons Plains track at Tasmania, with the two placed second and fourth in the V8 Supercars Championship, separated by just 32 points.
Kelly has won at the circuit back in 2004 and was encouraged by stablemate Michael Caruso’s podium effort at the weekend’s Rolex Australian Grand Prix support races.
“We've taken a lot of confidence out of Caruso's podium finish at the Grand Prix. It was a great result for the team.
“In our car we made really good improvements on Sunday, so we are looking forward to getting on track at Tasmania next week.”
Despite sitting high on the points table, it was a tough day for Kelly in the final race of the MSS Security Challenge, sustaining damage after his #15 Nissan jumped onto two wheels in a mid-pack collision, which unfortunately also involved stablemate James Moffat. The team will turn around the Altima in time to travel to Tasmania on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Coulthard scored his first podium finish at Symmons Plains in 2009, before his first Championship wins at the venue last year.
“I enjoy it, I reckon it’s good fun,” the Kiwi said of the 2.4km circuit, known for its turn four hairpin.
“It’s a great track for a soft tyre racing, because you also see – as the tyres degrade – the difference, some people struggling and things like that.
“It’s probably one of those tracks that’s been pretty kind to me.”
The drivers are all set for the V8 Supercars action at the Tyrepower Tasmania 400, March 28-30. The Symmons Plains event will feature the first SuperSprint format for the year with two 100km races on Saturday and one 200km race on Sunday. Tickets are available through Ticketek now, and kids 14 and under receive free general admission with a paying adult.
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