WARC leaders Tom Wilde and Madelin Kirkwood. Image: Rally WA/CMR Photographic
DIANNE BORTOLETTO reports
COLLIE IS THE STAGE on Saturday for round four of the CAMS Onslow Constructing Western Australian Rally Championship – the Make Smoking History Experts Cup Rally. WARC competitors compete over 125kms of stages, over a total distance of 284 kms. Clubman Cup – designed to be more accessible and encourage less experienced competitors into the sport. – is half the length, with 85.5kms of competitive stages,
Clerk of Course Richard Delfos said 34 competitors were expected to tackle the three-stage course. “Last year we were only able to run two stages, but this year we’ll be running three stages,” he said. “Rain is expected later in the week but should clear up for the weekend and the mercury is set to drop. So competitors should expect a cold and hopefully dry rally.
“The stages are fast and flowing with some tight corners, much of the same that we’ve used in previous years. Competitors familiar with the Experts Cup are likely to have an advantage,” the Clerk of Course said.
Leading the outright championship driver standings in both the WARC and 2WD categories is Tom Wilde. His co-driver and girlfriend, Madelin Kirkhouse, is leading the co-driver standings. Wilde is looking for a good result to solidify his outright lead. “We’re both looking forward to the Experts Cup and I reckon this event will suit our 2WD car, more so than the other competitors,” he said. “We run the team on a tight budget, so the priority is to keep the car reliable. If we have a DNF, we’re out of the points and out of contention.”
Wilde acknowledged the support received from Verandah Apartments for the team’s 1993 Honda Civic. “To have a chance of winning the overall championship, which is our focus, we’ll need to stay in front of Steele, Oxley, and O’Dowd,” the Nannup cheese maker said.
Going into the Make Smoking History Experts Cup sees the top four championship contenders still within striking distance.
Image: Rally WA/CMR Photographic
In second place in the WARC, trailing by 32 points, are Mick Steele and co-driver Tracey Dewhurst in their Natrad Malaga Japline 2003 Subaru Impreza WRX STI (above). Just seven points behind in third place are Stephen Oxley and co-driver Michael Wood in their CASA Security 2008 Subaru Impreza WRX STI. A further seven points behind is John O’Dowd and Kenneth Sheil in their Maximum Motorsport O’Dowd Transport 2007 Subaru Impreza WRX STI.
Tom Wilde and Madelin Kirkhouse also lead the 2WD Championship by a healthy 74 points. In second are Razvan Vlad and Daymon Nicoli, with Kody Reynolds and Megan Logue, third.
The Collie Trotting Track will be transformed into the rally’s service park. Entry is free and the first car is due to leave at noon.
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