Busselton Subaru Rally team driver Leigh Hynes has won the second-round of the Western Australian Rally Championship in Collie on the weekend.

Hynes took the chequered flag one and a half minutes in front of second-placed driver Doug Tostevin, who withstood a spirited challenge from John Macara in third place.

Pre-rally favourites Nicolas Box and Alex Stone suffered mechanical failures on stages two and four respectively, leaving the door wide-open for Hynes to take a confidence-boosting win.

“We started off pretty cautious because I didn’t like the way the car was handling and we were surprised to be leading the State standings and to be on Mark Pedder’s pace early.”

“We made a couple of changes to the car in the service but that caused a bit of a brake problem. Because it happened in the service and not before, we left the service 10 minutes late and got a 50 second penalty.”

The time penalty caused Hynes to push hard but by the time he had another problem on stage five his main competitors in Box and Stone had retired.

“[The brake problem] put us back in the pack a bit but then we just pulled the finger out and drove like a bat out of hell after that,” Hynes said. “Then later on stage five we broke a drive shaft on the start line but luckily by then most of our opposition had dropped out.”

While Hynes admitted his victory came down to good fortune, he also said there will be no underestimating how much the win would set his season up for a successful 2011 championship.

“It gets the ball rolling for the rest of the year... it gets the confidence back and when everyone like the service crew, family and friends stick by you it’s a bit of pay back for them too.”

Kiel Douglas in his Holden Commodore VS-SS was the first man home in the 2WD class but not before a spirited challenge from Forest Rally 2WD winner Geoff Leatt-Hayter.

Douglas said a new, more-powerful engine helped him generate enough speed to come from behind to steal the victory from Leatt-Hayter in his Ford Escort.

“We had a bit of a careful start as we had just put a new engine in the car and changed a few bits and pieces to make it a bit quicker,” Douglas said. “It was fairly mind-blowing the power of this new engine we’ve got as we have over 100 more horse-power.”

“We had a good, safe event and didn’t have any moments or anything like that... things went our way and we managed to get some time back on Geoff Leatt-Hayter on the night stages... It was a fantastic event.”

Clubman Cup entrant Andy van Kann also played it safe on the Wellington Plantation roads and brought his 1974 Toyota Levin home in one piece and in first place.

 “The first three stages we could see that it was extremely slippery gravel with a lot of loose gravel on the roads so we took it easy,” van Kann said. “I think there were nine sets of [emergency] triangles in the first three stages and basically we won it without winning any of the stages and being tidy and keeping it on the gravel.”

“I’ve been in rallying for 40 years and the same rule applies: You have to finish the event and then look at the result and that’s basically what we did: we kept it tidy, kept it sensible, counted all the crashed cars and we were surprised as anyone when we got to the finish and found out we were first in the Clubman Cup.”

The WARC field will head to Lewana for the third round of competition on July 23, 2011. For full Experts Cup results and other championship news visit www.rallywa.com.
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