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The final round of the W.A Rally Championship, the Light Car Club Safari Rally was held on Sunday, October 21st in the Mundaring forest, best known for its tough and demanding stages in Rally Australia.Three drivers were determined to fight for the championship, including Leigh Hynes in the RMS Service Centre-prepared Subaru Impreza ,  James Anderson in the Deep Creek Spec C Impreza and Alex Stone, also in a Subaru Impreza.

Being an all daylight event with around 135km competitive, the event started at 9am with the first special stage only ten minutes away from the rally HQ and start location which was in the Chidlow Township.

Special Stage One spelt disaster, and an early end, for Leigh Hynes and co-driver Stuart Percival when they clipped a rock on the inside of a right hand bend, breaking the steering and tearing off the brake line. Unfortunately this was their championship over, a cruel blow considering the effort put in during the lead up to this event.

“I’m absolutely gutted,” Hynes said when he returned to the service park. “It’s so disappointing for the whole team and our supporters.  Such a small mistake, we didn’t even go off the road.”

As for the rest of the rally, it was full of drama with the DNF list growing by the kilometre. Some notable retirements included Ross Dunkerton, who was making a guest appearance in Rob Herridge’s Subaru, but who stopped on SS2. Other DNFs were recorded by championship leader James Anderson, James’ older brother Chris, Blair Pugh and Toby Heyring, all either having mechanical problems or off-road excursions.

All of these retirements left Alex Stone and co-driver Dianna Madelener to take the event win and, with it, their second State title. John Macara finished in a well deserved second place and Shane Eather was third.  One outstanding performance was that of young Jack Flanagan in only his fifth rally, taking his 2WD Nissan to eighth outright and first Rookie.  A star of the future, for sure.

For Hynes and Percival and the RMS Service Centre team, it’s time for a well deserved break before a full assault on the Championship next year.  With great support this year from Drummond Motorsport Suspension, Dunlop Motorsport Tyres, Modena Engineering and Total Nitrogen, they are more than happy with their performance given Leigh’s four year break from competition.  2008 will certainly see a very exciting WA Rally Championship.

Photo: David Smith. 

You can watch in car footage of SS1 with Leigh Hynes and Stuart Percival here 

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