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The highly credentialed US Off Road specialist Harley Letner arrived in Alice Springs today ahead of 2017 Tatts Finke Desert Race.

Letner’s maiden Finke race will be aboard a familiar vehicle, the # 59 Tatum 2005 Chev that he raced in the US before being sold into Australia several years ago.

Luke Ayers and Harley Letner with the Hercules Tatum at the Finke Media Launch

Luke Ayers and Harley Letner with the Hercules Tatum at the Finke Media Launch

Alongside Letner will be current car owner and regular driver, Queenslander Luke Ayers who ran the vehicle in the first round of the CAMS BF Goodrich Australian Off Road Championship finishing in sixth position in the Pro Buggy division.

As for Letner he comes into Finke in top form, being currently undefeated in the US 2017 Best in the Desert season taking three from three in the 1500 class with his latest win coming in the Laughlin Desert Classic where he also took outright honours ahead of the Trophy Trucks.

Two Baja 500 victories and five Parker 425 wins add to his impressive off-road CV.

Luke Ayers stretching the legs of the Tatum at Griffith in March

Luke Ayers stretching the legs of the Tatum at Griffith in March

Speaking after today’s media launch for the 2017 Tatts Finke Desert Race held in the Alice Springs Mall, Letner said ‘he had been watching plenty of video of the Finke event’, to familiarise himself with the unique terrain and characteristics of the Australian desert classic.

‘It’s going to be totally different to Baja where we have plenty of pre-running and GPS’, he said.

Co-driver Ayers suggested the approach to the event would be to take it as they found it, but suggested that Letner would be ‘pushing hard’.

The only American ever to have won at Finke was Californian bike competitor Dan Ashcroft who took victory back in 1996.