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Drivers, co-drivers, service crew members and officials are raring for the start of the 2014 Rally WA season which was officially launched at Performance West, Ascot last Wednesday night.

 

The most exciting announcement about the new season has been the addition of the Newmont Boddington Rally which will revive former Rally Australia stages.

Event organiser, Wendy Walker, spoke at the launch to say competitors would run over the world-famous ‘Bunnings’ jumps six times in the event. She added the rally had attracted a lot of support from the local community, sponsors and competitors.

Long-time official, Andrew Percival, who has racked up more than 30 years of service to WA rallying, said the Boddington event was the reason he had decided to sign up as a rookie driver for 2014.

Percival, part of the five-car Rally Action Driver Training team, will compete in an EK Honda Civic with his 15 year old step-daughter, Jessica Mansfield, with the aim of claiming the Clubman Rookie title.

Also at Wednesday’s launch were Percival’s brother and 2013 Outright Champion Co-Driver, Stuart, plus current 2WD Champions Razvan Vlad and Daymon Nicoli.

Vlad (Ford Fiesta) outlined his intentions for the season saying he would compete in all rounds of the WARC season, except the Boddington event which he would miss because of an overseas holiday. He also planned to contest Rally Australia and drive a BMW 335 in Quit Targa West.

Sean Keating (Nissan Silvia), whose 2013 season was plagued with car problems, said his plan was to be a major threat to Vlad’s campaign for back-to-back championships. He added: “I want to keep the car as straight as possible, finish more events but still be fast.”

News from Subaru WRX competitors at the launch included Doug Tostevin announcing he would again be teaming up with Tammy Adams in the Outright competition; Stephen Oxley saying he’ll move from Group N to the open class; and Scott McKenzie graduating from being a rookie and looking forward to challenging himself against the more experienced competitors.

Rob Webber said he’d be back in his Mitsubishi Evo 9 with Anthony Chudleigh calling the shots for the season opener, the Quit Forest Rally (QFR) next month, before Toni Feaver tookover as co-driver for the rest of the season.

Nicholas Box said he will return to his Evo 9 after a tough year on the Australian Rally Championship circuit in a Nissan 370Z. Unfortunately, Box will miss QFR because of funding issues and the Trade Donnelly Rally for a wedding, but he expected to be competing by the Newmont Boddington Rally.

WA Rally Panel Chairman, Ross Tapper, acknowledged the rally supporters who made it to the launch, including a contingent who made it up from Bunbury and Dakar competitor Garry Connell who spoke about his once in a lifetime experience in the South American event.

Tapper also welcomed Fresh Look IT and STechnicas as major sponsors of the 2014 Rally WA season and encouraged competitors and officials to sign up for the next Rally Immediate Medical Support (RIMS) Training Day on Sunday, March 16.

The 2014 WARC season kicks off next month. The calendar is as follows:

April 4-6 – Quit Forest Rally (WARC and ARC)
May 10 – Trade Hire Donnelly Rally
May 31 - June1 Newmont Boddington Rally
June 28 – Experts Cup
July 26 – Lewana Stages
October 11 – Carringtons Safari
November 15 – Darling 200 (2WD and Clubman only)

 

 

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