Round 1 - Shanghai - 2008
John Allen, Team FCACA and me on our first Rally together.
Round 1 of the China Rally Championship started with the Shanghai Rally, based close to the city centre on the same roads where the running of the Olympic torch had taken place the week before.
Tonys son Tyler came to China to see his father competing in this event.
With the opening ceremony on a Friday evening and his son by his side, Tony together with co-driver John Allen was stunned to be the only foreign drivers first over the start ramp in the history of the championship.
The Team plan on their first event was to get our two cars to the finish in the top 10 positions.
After 2 stages Tony was quoted, apologizing to co-driver John Allen for his very average driving, but found themselves in second place to David Higgins/Leuan Thomas. At the end of day 1, Tony and John had posted there first quickest stage time for the championship and Tony’s trainee Chinese driver was comfortably in the top 10.
Elated with their efforts, and arriving in final service for the day the crew was upbeat until the gearbox oil revealed two unwanted spare parts for Team FCACA to ponder, until parking in Park Ferme where the gearbox decided to pour its contents onto the concrete.
With an exceptional commitment to their job, Prodrive’s John McLean and Adrian Bukmanis took charge of the situation and trained new mechanics overnight to change a gearbox on the last day of competition in the first 20 minute morning service. This, in fact, was achieved in 18 minutes and a real credit to all involved. The emotion in service was indescribable and this group of people, who had been working tirelessly to get to the Shanghai Rally, could now hold there heads high as a Professional Rally Team.
Tony and John repaid the massive effort with a quickest stage time straight out of service and achieved there third quickest stage time later on in the day comfortably finishing the rally 2nd overall to David Higgins with Team FCACA’s Chinese driver pairing finishing a very respectable 6th overall ending the weekend 1 point off 1st place on the China rally Team Championship points table.
Tony and Team FCACA are now working together with sponsors for there highest profile rally of 2008 exposing FCACA to the world championship where Tony and co-driver John Allen will head back to there side of the globe to compete in Tony’s home world rally round of New Zealand on August 29-31 in a brand new Prodrive N14 Subaru Impreza supplied by Ken Skidmore of Autotek before heading back to China for the Teams second China rally championship and first gravel rally round the following weekend in Mohe.
- Written by Tony Green
John Allen was born into rallying, his father also called Tony was a top-level co-driver in the Victorian Rally Championship in Australia also winning a round with legendary Australian driver, Hugh Bell. John focussed on club level motorsport as a driver until a mid-life crisis at 30 when he realised being employed full time as an accountant. This depressing moment was a turning point in John’s rally career where his focus was directed to securing a full-time role as a co-driver.
John Allen has become a specialist in the Targa Tasmania challenge, which is a 6 day tarmac event held in the Australian state of Tasmania. He has completed eight times finishing 2nd outright in 2005 and 2006 in a Porsche Turbo, 4th outright in 2007 in a Lamborghini Gallardo and 6th in 2008 in a Porsche GT3.
He was also the outright winner of the Mt Buller Sprint in 2007 with Ray Vandersee. John has competed for four years in the Australian Rally Championship between 2004 -2008 with the highlight being the 2005 group A Australian Rally with Kevin Shaw in a Mitsubishi Evo 6.
How did John Allen meet Tony Green?
Adrian Bukmanis from Prodrive happened to be a mutual friend of both and Tony suggested that they should team up together. The highlight to date though has been to work with a new Chinese team and Tony Green to finish 2nd in their first rally together in Shanghai.