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Perth rally driver Nicholas Box has claimed a podium finish in his first ever Scouts Rally of South Australia at the weekend.

Box and co-driver Ash Ridden were second in their zebra-striped Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX to Bosch Australia Rally Championship four-wheel-drive leader Michael Boaden (in the same type of car).

It was an exciting comeback from the WA pair who’d so far had a challenging 2012 rally season including a bad crash in the Quit Forest Rally and a ‘did not finish’ after mechanical issues in the International Rally of Queensland.

Box was relaxed after the event and said: “The roads were a lot easier to read than Queensland and that made me more confident.”

Scouts Rally SA was run over two very different surfaces with competition over tighter shire roads and fast forestry stages.

Box said he had been nervous about the shire roads but was thrilled with his times overall.

He knew his NSW rival Boaden, who was keen to back up his win in IROQ and claimed the fastest times on every stage in heat one, would be tough to beat.

Box said: “In the first heat we were sort of finding our feet. On the Saturday (heat two) I planned to go out hard.”

And he did, notching up wins in the first two stages of the day but, despite his best efforts and a dream run with the car, Box couldn’t catch Boaden.

“Our times were fast, Boaden’s were just faster,” he said.

Box said the constant rain over the weekend wasn’t really a factor for him, but it was for organisers who had to close one stage early and cancel another on the last day of the rally.

Fellow West Aussie Tom Wilde, who like Box had entered the Scouts Rally SA for the first time, took a while to find his feet in the event as wasn’t as fast as he’d hoped.

He finished fourth (behind Steve Shepheard) in heat one and heat three but his Evo X was hit with a mechanical problem on the second last stage of heat two and was unable to finish.

“He’s pretty disappointed,” Box said.

Fellow WA drivers who also finished the event were John Bruinsma competing in the ARC 2WD competition in his Holden Commodore and Razvan Vlad who entered his Ford Fiesta at the South Australian Championship level.

The next round of the ARC is the Snakes Racing Coffs Coast Rally on October 12 – 14.


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