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Top five: Rally stars driving Supercars

The story this week detailing Molly Taylor’s test of a Brad Jones Racing Supercar in 2017 gained plenty interest on V8 Sleuth channels.

The evaluation day was a serious hitout for the 2016 Australian Rally Champion amid attempts by Holden to lure Taylor towards a Supercars career switch.

NEWS: Molly Taylor’s secret Supercars test with BJR

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It got us thinking about other drivers who have made their name in rallying and then driven Supercars over recent decades, be it in race or test conditions.

While none have enjoyed the success of 1980s rally-to-race convert George Fury, this Top Five contains no shortage of rallying royalty…

Ed Ordynski

Peter Brock helping Ordynski settle into #05. Pic: an1images.com / Dirk Klynsmith

Softly spoken South Australian school teacher Ordynski is best known for his ties with Mitsubishi, winning the 1990 ARC title in a Galant before taking a string of Group N successes in Lancers.

He also famously won the 1995 Round Australia Trial in a factory-backed VR Commodore, but many will have forgotten he tested with the Holden Racing Team at both Calder and Mallala that year.

While he ultimately didn’t get the call-up with HRT for the enduros, Ordynski raced the 1995 Sandown 500 and Bathurst 1000 as co-driver to Mark Poole in James Rosenberg’s ex-Perkins Commodore.

They finished 10th at Sandown and 17th at Bathurst in PE017, which is one of 50 Perkins-built cars set to feature in our upcoming book ‘Perkins Engineering: The Cars, 1986-2008′. Pre-order your copy here.

Possum Bourne

The late Possum Bourne. Pic: Subaru

Kiwi Bourne won a staggering seven straight ARC titles between 1996 and 2002 in a series of legendary Subaru WRXs, amid a string of other rallying successes.

Bourne never raced a Supercar but he did test one, cutting laps at Winton in mid-1999 aboard the Garry Rogers Motorsport VS Commodore that Garth Tander drove for the bulk of the season.

After his tragic death in 2003, several Supercars teams sported tribute stickers for Bourne and he remains a hero to many in pitlane.

Neal Bates

Bates co-drove the Bathurst pole-winning car with Wayne Gardner in 2000. Pic: an1images.com / Graeme Neander

Bates was Bourne’s big rival on the Australian rallying scene during the 1990s, flying the Toyota flag to take three ARC titles during the decade, before adding a fourth in 2008; each with Molly Taylor’s mother Coral as co-driver!

He has the most touring car experience of anyone on this list, including 11 Bathurst 1000 starts between 1989 and ’03; the first five of which came in Toyota Corollas.

Bates’ V8 drives began with Paul Weel in 1998 before two years at Ford Tickford Racing and single campaigns alongside Rodney Forbes and twin brother Rick Bates in 2002 and ’03 respectively.

Rick also boasts considerable experience on dirt and tarmac; 2003 marked his seventh and final Bathurst start after earlier campaigns with the likes of the Colourscan, Lansvale and Faulkner teams.

Chris Atkinson

Chris Atkinson with Russell Ingall. Pic: Supplied

Atkinson’s rallying career has taken him to the sport’s highest level, competing for Subaru, Citroen, Ford, Mini and Hyundai in the World Rally Championship.

He’s also had a brief brush with Supercars, sampling Russell Ingall’s Supercheap Auto-backed Paul Morris Motorsports VE Commodore at Queensland Raceway in mid-2011.

As the drive came on one of the team’s limited test days, Atkinson was only afforded a handful of laps in the car and later expressed a desire for a more comprehensive test.

Ken Block

The last driver on this list is perhaps the ultimate wildcard in the deck, American shoe entrepreneur turned stunt and rally driver Ken Block.

Block briefly drove a Ford Performance Racing FG Falcon at Calder Park in late 2011 as part of a car-swap involving teammates Mark Winterbottom and Will Davison and Block’s ‘Gymkhana’ Ford Fiesta.

While both FPR drivers got to steer the Fiesta, Davison was the one strapped into the Falcon’s passenger seat alongside Block for his Supercar experience… which included a spin on the outlap!

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