2010 Western Safari Rally report
- 21st October 2010, 5:37pm
This year the LCC Western Safari Rally attracted 35 teams to the forests of Mundaring, just east of the Perth metro area.
Running in a similar format to previous years, 9 special stages were set on the loose, ball bearing gravel roads. The non pace note format was also retained where competitors used the organiser's road book to navigate their way through the natural bush and pine plantations around Mundaring Weir.
Within the first few stages it was apparent that the event was going to be hard on cars and tires. By the first service, some teams had already changed tires in the stages from punctures. Mechanical problems were also surfacing for some on the slippery roads with suspension and transmission problems topping the list. The loose, dry and warm conditions also accelerated tire wear. Many cars returned to service with little tread left after each group of stages.
As the rally progressed, more cars showed signs of brushes with the scenery with a few dented panels and the odd bent rear bumper. The dust too was providing a challenge for some teams and became more of an issue as darkness fell.
As the last round of the state rally season, the Safari was also the decider of both the outright and the 2WD championships. In the end a hard battle was fought, particularly in 2WD and the results hinged on more than just the top two contenders. At various points during the rally, the 2WD lead was shared by up to 4 different teams.
After 9 special stages, just 16 cars completed the state section of the event.
Despite suspension problems and a mid rally steering rack replacement, Geoff Leatt-Hayter/Tammy Adams nursed their Ford Escort to 10th outright and took the P3 Class. In their new Ford Fiesta ST, Raz Vlad and Damon Nicoli took 9th place and with it the 2WD championship for the year. Kiel Douglas/Anthony Paynter were leading 2WD in their big V8 Commodore heading into the last round, however several problems during the day dropped them just enough time for Vlad/Nicoli to slip past and claim the 2WD trophy. Graeme Miles/Luke Goodman made 8th place in their WRX behind Gavin Morgan/Chris Parish in their Spec C WRX in 7th. Parish/Morgan counted themselves lucky to finished, having mounted a massive charge after a puncture and jammed wheel early in SS1.
Father and son Mike and Jack Civil (Lancer Evo 6) drove well to finish the Safari in 6th and Garry Whittle/Ryan Doe (WRX) stayed out of the trees long enough to collect 5th. Returning to the WA Rally Championship, Alex Stone, with Hanna Drury alongside took their WRX to 4th place. Travis White and Greg Flood upgraded their Daihatsu Charade for a PWRC spec Lancer Evo 9 and bagged a good result in 3rd. Nic Box with new navigator Matt James-Wallace (Lancer Evo 7) did well and finished 2nd behind Tom Wilde/Lee Tierney who won the rally. For Wilde, he'd sealed not only the Safari win, but the State Championship for 2010 as well. A new name will now be inscribed in the book of prestigious WA State Rally Champions.
Whilst the state rally championship may be over for the year, the WA Clubman Cup (2WD Only Cars) still has one round to go. The LCC Darling 200 Rally is due to run on Saturday the 13th of November.
For all things Rallying in WA, head to www.rallywa.com for details.
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