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Round 4 of the Tasmanian Rally Series, the Southern Safari, will be fought out in the picturesque forests surrounding Geeveston this Saturday.  The tight, fast roads are always a hit with competitors, and with event organisers reporting that road conditions are the best in many years, the event is poised to be one of the highlights of the year.

The official start of the rally is set to be at Port Huon Regatta Grounds with the cars on display from 8:00am, before the event gets under way from 9:00am.  The competitors look forward to 110 kilometres of competitive stages on some of the best rally roads in the country. 

The hot favourites for the event is Craig Brooks and Daniel Wilson in the Total Alarm Services WRX.  This crew has proved to be the fastest all season, however after throwing away a certain victory at the last round in Burnie due to an incident, perhaps the greatest threat to their chances is Brooks’ flamboyant driving style. 

Hot on their heels and looking for another solid result is Shane Russell in the Legana Tyres and More Evolution Lancer.  His consistent and measured approach has proven successful all season and he sits just behind Brooks in the Series points standings.  Also looking to take the 4WD fight to Brooks will be Liam Coyle, who makes his southern debut in the Edwards Windsor WRX.  Coyle will be looking to improve on the last round, where brake issues plagued the car throughout much of their debut event.

Both Coyle and Russell will be debuting new navigators for the event, further adding to the challenge of the tight, technical rally.

This year’s competitors in the 2WD category have provided some of the best rallying seen in some years, with many new driver and car combinations taking it up to the more seasoned campaigners.  Series stalwarts, Mark Kyle and Glen Corner, will be again looking for a class win in their Datsun 1600 after mechanical issues slowed their charge in the last round. 

Series debutant, Nick Shaw, will look to take the fight to Kyle in his VL Commodore after showing some excellent speed during the season, and the fast roads should suit complement the set-up of his car. 

Another competitor to keep on eye on will be Aaron Reader in the Cyborg Mitsubishi Mirage.  The high revving Mitsubishi, and the commitment shown by the crew, has been a hit with spectators throughout the season, and following a minor incident in the last round, Reader will be looking for a strong result to chase down Kyle’s points lead in the 2WD series.

Brad Gunn and Fiona Mackie will also be making a welcome return in their Lacey Automotive Daihatsu Charade.  Having been kept out of the series all year after a number of mechanical dramas, the pair will be looking to emulate their success at last year’s event, where they won the 2WD category.

There are two easily accessible spectator points and guides are available from Autocraft in Collins St, Hobart, and after a year marred with drama and carnage, the competitors are set to take it to another level in the penultimate round of the season.

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