Toshi Arai is looking for another good finish in his Subaru Impreza WRX STI when the Production Car World Rally Championship [PCWRC] resumes on the Rally of Australia from September 4th to 7th.

Arai and co-driver Tony Sircombe lead the title chase on 30 points, with fellow Subaru driver Martin Rowe three points behind and a further five points back to defending champion Karamjit Singh.

"We want to try and build up a bit more of a buffer on Martin," said Arai. "So that means finishing in front of him."

However the first priority is to finish and get more points, irrespective of what the Englishman does.

"If we can stay out of trouble, I think we can get a good place," added Arai. "The Subaru has been very good on the gravel stages this year and Tony and I have had a lot of experience in Australia."

Between them, the pair have done Rally Australia 18 times. Twelve months ago they won the PCWRC class and two years ago took the Team's Cup in an Impreza WRC. Both have previously won Group N on the Perth based event.

Sircombe's best result was fourth overall in 1994 with the late Possum Bourne, although he knows how treacherous the forestry tracks can be on one of the most technical gravel rallies in the championship.

In 1992 Sircombe broke eight ribs in an accident on the Murray Pines stage when he was co-driving for Rod Millen.

"You have to be so precise with the pace notes," said Sircombe. "With the trees so close to the road there is absolutely no margin for error."

Another factor in the pair's favour is the event reverting to its September date, the same time of the year it used to be held.

"It'll probably rain at some stage," said Sircombe. "Only the old hands who have been going there for many years will remember what that's like. It's another variable to make the event even trickier."

With changes to the format of this year's rally, Sircombe is looking forward to the new stages and the different use of roads in many of the older traditional stages. "But we've got to keep our nose clean. It's a long way from most of the stages to the service park," said Sircombe. "Even if you get to the end of a stage with a problem, you're probably not going to get back to service."

Arai and Sircombe have won all three gravel rounds of the PCWRC held this year in their Subaru Production Rally Team Impreza WRX STI and believe if they can avoid problems they stand a good chance of continuing that kind of performance in Australia.

"The main thing is to get as good a point's buffer as possible on the others before we go to the final round at Corsica," said Arai. "We want to make them play catch up."