Perth rally driver Chris Anderson has soared to the top of the West Australian Rally Championship table after winning the Ascot Motoring Club’s Lewana Stages Rally in Balingup on the weekend.

In a Japline Subaru Impreza WRX owned by his brother James, Anderson completed the event one minute and twenty seconds ahead of John Macara in a Mitsubishi Evo 09, while Tom Wilde, also in a Impreza, finished in third place a further one minute and fifteen seconds down the road.

After rolling his own car at last month’s Quit Forest rally, Anderson almost did not compete in the Lewana event due to there being too much damage to the car and not enough time to fix it.

“After I rolled my Impreza in the Forest Rally it would have been a rush to get it ready for Lewana,” Anderson said. “So I did a deal with my brother James where if I prepared his car, which was sitting incomplete in the workshop, he would let me use it in Lewana and providing I didn't destroy it.”

With his brother’s deal in mind and the fact it was his first ‘blind’ rally in four years, Anderson confessed he had a challenging start to the event.

“I was a bit concerned going into the weekend having not competing in a blind rally in over 4 years,” he said. “On the first stage on the second tulip the road went left over a blind crest,  we overshot the corner and stalled the car. A few corners after that we had another spin.”

“We managed to get through the second stage without any dramas and by the 4th stage we were comfortable with the road book.”

Anderson and co-driver Ben Searcy had four fastest stage times on their way to an impressive victory.

“Ben Searcy was flawless on the notes all weekend and the car didn't miss a beat after Steve Wisby at Maximum Motorsport tuned it last week.”

Anderson now leads the championship on 83.5 points, Tom Wilde is in second place on 82 points while John Macara is in third with 81. Roman Watkins, the WARC leader after the Forest Rally, has been relegated to fourth place in the WARC on 68 points after competing in the ARC’s Coffs Coast Rally also staged on the weekend.

“We had no real plans to contest the whole championship this year just to do round by round if things fell into place,” he said. “To be leading the championship at this stage is unexpected but pleasing.”

The scene is set for a thrilling Experts Cup, the next round of the WARC, with the championship battle well and truly alive and Anderson hinted his brother could return for the Collie event.

“The car would be ready for [James] to drive in the Experts Cup.... I would really like to see guys like James, and Toby Heyring come back into the sport.”

Darren Windus retired from the rally in the lead after suffering a drive shaft failure, Matthew Knox’s return to rallying after a nine year layoff ended with engine failure while Brent Dunlop’s engine gave up on stage 4. Geoff Leatt-Hayter, the 2009 2WD WA Champion, left the road and has continued his run of bad luck this year.

Travis White and Paul van der May took 2WD class line honours from Kiel Douglas and Anthony Paynter while the husband and wife duo of Neil and Amanda King were victorious in the Clubman Cup class.
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