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Event favourites David and Kate Officer in their 1970 Mitsubishi Galant have taken the lead in the 2009 Frontier Services Classic Outback Trial as the event travelled from Forbes to Coonabarabran in Central New South Wales today.

The Officers grabbed the lead early in the day and withstood numerous challenges, finishing the day 19 seconds ahead of the similar 1972 Galant of Sydney’s Steve Ashton and Ro Nixon.

Third only five seconds back as the cars arrived in Coonabarabran, were the Victorian crew of Terry Naish and Ross Runnalls in their 1970 model Datsun 1600, while finishing the day with a wet sail in fourth place overall were the father and son team of Pat and Bradley Cole in their 1968 Mercedes-Benz 280SL Pagoda.

Impressively. Michael and Peter Arundel have retained fifth place outright in their 1969 Ford Mustang automatic, a further 68 seconds back.

Most cars made it through the day’s four stages totalling about 100km without major incidents and will re-start tomorrow’s Day 3 loop out of Coonabarabran. The exceptions were Paul Darrouzet and Paul Benko in their V8-engined 1970 Ford Capri Perana, who broke their rear suspension mid-way through the day and limped to the finish using a tree branch to make temporary repairs. The car will be repaired overnight and the crew is confident of re-starting in the morning.

Tomorrow (Wednesday September 2), the field will leave the Coonabarabran Show Grounds from 9.00am for a competitive loop north of the City that will include four timed Special Stages on private property.

The day’s rally action will finish at Pilliga Pottery, with the first cars expected around 2.00pm. After lunch and an inspection of the Pottery, the Trial field will return to Coonabarabran for the night.

On Thursday September 4, the field will leave the Show Grounds from 7.30am for a busy day of rallying, with breakfast at Elah Station from 8.00am, two Special Stages north of Boggabri – where entrants will refuel from 10.45am – with the event stopping for a service break and lunch at the Barraba Bowling Club from 1.30pm.

That afternoon the trial will head for its next overnight stop at Glen Innes on its way to join Repco Rally Australia in the Tweed area at the weekend.

On arrival in the Tweed area on Friday September 4, entrants will take part in a special night event on the Repco Rally Australia Super Special Stage tarmac course on the streets of Murwillumbah.

The following day, Trial entrants will compete against the clock at full rally speeds over three of the actual unsealed Repco Rally Australia special stages used by competitors in the World Rally Championship  – two immediately after the WRC cars and the last ahead of the International rally field – giving entrants the same unique driving experience as RRA entrants.

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