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The final round of the 2009 North West Car Club Rally Championship was run and won on Saturday September 19 in the forest near Yolla in Tasmania.
Leading the series and starting car one on the road was the DSA Rally Team of Mark Butcher (Driver) and James Heinrich (Co-Driver). Driving the same black Subaru WRX that was run at the WRC rally only 2 weeks before in Queensland but now with a new engine and more power thanks to the team at Chiptorque who tuned the car.
The main competition was from leading local driver Peter O’Reilly who was also driving a Subaru WRX with co-driver Eddie McGuire alongside. A total of 18 crews made the start line of the event that was to end with a section of stages being conducted at night. Many drivers had little or no experience of night rallying so it was guaranteed to be exciting for all involved.
The DSA team fired out of the box early and went about stamping some authority on the event with determined driving giving three stage wins in a row. The team lost several seconds on the fourth stage but were in a comfortable lead heading into the first of the night stages.
“Running car one on the road we had to drive at a maximum pace to insure we had a lead over the other competitors. This was a bit tricky with no wheel marks to follow and judging grip levels was a challenge during the day – but got even more interesting at night time. We new we had to push hard and we had one minor mis-judgement coming into a right hand corner that dragged our car at speed into a bank on the left of the road, narrowly missing a handful of trees but getting us fairly stuck and unable to reverse out” said Butcher.
The team lost a lot of time and although they managed to continue – they were excluded from the results for exceeding the maximum late time allowed.
“Clearly were pretty disappointed – we have not had an incident like this in seven events this year – and it was probably just my lack of concentration and a bit of fatigue after travelling back from Queensland only two days before that cost us a great result and championship. Pete pushed hard and kept his car on the road and deserves the win and I would like to congratulate him and Eddie.” said Butcher.
The team have one more event this year – in just two weeks. The final round of the Tasmanian State Championship takes place near Launceston. After a season that has included a total of eight events – the DSA Rally Team have demonstrated a massive investment of time and money and hope to attract some major sponsorship for 2010. Initially the plan is to contest the Australian Rally Championship and Rally New Zealand with the possibility of some additional events locally also.
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