2010 Darling 200 Review
- 19th November 2010, 9:59am
The final round of the WA Clubman Rally series was only a short trek from Perth to the old logging town of Jarrahdale, just southwest of the metro area. The natural timber forests of Jarrahdale have been the home to the Darling 200 for several years and made for some interesting stages. As the clubman series is open to 2 wheel drive cars only, this year’s Darling attracted a compact field of 22 cars.
The rally ran the same stages as 2009 in the same format, using the organisers’ road book instead of pace notes. As the roads had not been graded since the rally last year, some sections already had some ruts before the first cars started. In a few places, rocks in the wheel track would pose an extra hazard to be aware of too.
Over 68 competitive km and six special stages, the sounds of naturally aspirated cars could be heard singing through the forests. It was the only rally of the year where four-wheel drive turbo cars did not make up the majority of the field.
The Darling 200 was not only the last rally for 2010, it was also the decider for the Clubman Cup. Mathematically 3 teams could take the series. In the end, Julian Wright/Jeff Huggins who were in contention for the series in their Datsun 1200, did not start the rally and it then became a two horse race.
At the end of the rally, Geoff Leatt-Hayter/Dianna Madlener (Ford Escort) came up under weight on the scrutineers’ scales in their Ford Escort, and were excluded from the results when they had been running second outright in the rally.
Matthew Snaddon/David Drummond brought their Corolla FX-GT to tenth place. Alex White navigated by Sharon Black (Daihatsu Charade) came home ninth and Dan Adams/Broderick Williams had a great event finishing eighth in their Celica Whaleback. Despite suffering two punctures during the day, Dave Thomas/Dave Hughes got their Ford Escort home in seventh. Returning to rallying in a different car, husband and wife Kevin and Alex Sleep (Daihatsu Charade) set some good stage times during the day and finished sixth. Raz Vlad/Daymon Nicoli finished fifth in their new Ford Fiesta ST just one second behind Nick King with new navigator Donna Davies (Ford Escort) in fourth.
Kiel Douglas/Anthony Paynter brought their thundering “General Lee” V8 Commodore to third place and also took the Clubman series for 2010 in the process. Jack Flanagan/Ben Searcy (Nissan Sunny Gti) had a good drive during the day to finish second. Flying the Ford flag, Blair Pugh and Paul Helm had a great day winning the rally. Ford must be impressed to know that more than 30 years after production of Escort MK II’s was ceased, the cars are stilling winning rallies.
Whilst the 2010 rally championships and series may be completed for the year, there is still one gravel event left for 2010. The Eagles Nest Rally sprint is due to run on December 11th. Details, regs and entry forms can be found at: http://www.rallyaction.com.au/motorsport.html
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