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The 2009 Hyundai Excel Rally Series heads into their final round of the 2009 series at the Akademos Rally on the 17th and 18th of October.  A good turnout of Excels is expected for the rally and with the added benefit of last weekends driver and navigator training day, the Excel competitors will all be aiming to place higher in the results this year. 
 
At the Victorian Hyundai Excel Rally series annual training day no less than 5 major stars of Australian Rallying joined participants for a great day of fun at Bendigo Car Club's Bagshot Motor Sport Complex.  Current, and now three time Australian Rally Champion, Simon Evans, was joined by former ARC Championship drivers David Officer, Geoff Portman and Co-drivers Kate Officer and Ross Runnalls.

Drivers and instructors alike were greeted with a magnificent facility at Bagshot, which has been constantly upgraded and improved over the last twenty years to be one of the best facilities of its type in Victoria.  While there were some old heads amongst the participants many were complete novices having their first competition experience in this controlled environment.

With over a dozen Hyundais lined up for some serious coaching the 3 ARC Championship drivers were kept busy either advising participants from the left hand side of the Excels or strutting their stuff to the amazement of competitors in the 2009 Hyundai Victorian Rally Series.  Also on hand was 2008 Victorian Hyundai Series champion Ross Allan and Australian F16 Champion Leigh Garrioch.

While the drivers were being given tuition on the intricacies of getting the most out of their Hyundais the two co-driving champions passed their vast knowledge of the art of co-driving to many of the Hyundai series navigators.  A co-driver has many tasks to perform not only in the car but outside the car where a car rally can be won or lost.  Aspects include team logistics, time control procedures, map reading and road book instruction as well as keeping the driver in check.
 
The Hyundai series cars are completely standard with the exception of rally tyres, suspension and the addition of safety items such as a rollcage and fire extinguishers.  The reliability of these little cars under rally conditions is unbelievable and all the car owners have stories to tell of how inexpensive rallying a Hyundai can be. The current number of cars being used in motorsport in Victoria is in excess of 15 and growing very quickly.

The day also provided an opportunity for potential Excel rally competitors to see what the series is all about. A “Try before you buy” offer, so expect to see even more Excels in the 2010 Victorian Rally Championship.

At the conclusion of the day the organizing committee thanked the Instructors, the Bendigo Car Club and the volunteer officials. In addition the Hyundai Genuine Parts was thanked for continued and long standing support to this valuable grass roots motorsport series.

So now all that remains is for the participants to take their new found knowledge and apply it in the forests around Alexandra and Thornton; we will have to wait and see.

Visit www.excelrally.com.au for more information.

Photos: John Doutch

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