Michael Clarke has never had this much padding.
Michael Clarke has never had this much padding. Contributed

Clarke pads up for Rally

AUSTRALIAN cricket captain and BP Ultimate Ambassador Michael Clarke is set to swap his cricket whites for a driving suit and steering wheel later this month, when he joins the BP Ultimate team in the Brakes Direct International Rally of Queensland putting his passion for driving to the test.

Taking place on the Sunshine Coast and the Mary Valley from Friday May 25 to Sunday May 27, IROQ, Australia's biggest championship rally of the year, will attract 100 teams from Australia and around the world.

Clarke, who has been an Ambassador for BP Ultimate since November 2011, will be driving in two stages of the rally, including the 7.8km BP Ultimate stage at Pomona.

Having developed a passion for cars and driving at a young age, Clarke is looking forward to swapping the baggy green for a racing helmet by taking part in his first rally car event.

Clarke said: "It's pretty well known that I have a passion for driving, but a part of me has always wondered what it would be like to go up against the best in the business.

"There's no doubt that rally driving is one of the most exhilarating sports around and, as someone who puts my heart into everything I do, this is a great opportunity to mix it with some of the world's best drivers!"

International Rally of Queensland Event Director Errol Bailey said, "We're really excited to have Michael get behind the wheel.

"We know how good he has been on the cricket field in recent times, but this will be a completely new challenge for him.

"As the official control fuel used by all of the Australian rally teams in this six-round championship (Bosch Australian Rally Championship), BP Ultimate helps to keep each team's engine running at its peak for top performance.

"We are really excited to have the BP Ultimate ambassador with us to share his love for driving and competing."

Riding shotgun with Clarke in his team will be veteran professional co-driver Mark Stacey.

The Australian has competed at international level for two decades, calling directions for drivers as far afield as Sweden, China and Japan, countries where the spectacular sport has a fanatical following.

IROQ, now in its 44th year, is the longest-running round in the Australian Rally Championship and now also incorporates a round of the prestigious FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship.

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