Dowel snatches victory in close battle
- 4th April 2012, 9:24am
Justin Dowel and Scott Spedding snatched back victory at Round 2 of the ECEDY Victorian Rally Championship held in Heyfield on Saturday. A late charge by Dowel on the final four stages saw the crew win the event by 22 seconds in their Active Rallysport EVO 9 Lancer.
40 crews descended on Heyfield and surrounds on Saturday for the 54th running of the George Derrick Memorial Rally, one of the oldest rallies in the country. Promoted by the Car Club of RMIT, the event moved back to Gippsland this year after a 5 year stint in the goldfields town of Avoca.
Event Director Andrew Roseman was delighted with the event after recent rain, followed by fine weather provided perfect conditions for the rally. Roseman was thankful to the Heyfield community for their support “It’s great to be back in Gippsland this year, and we have to sincerely thank the Heyfield community for their support, especially the local CFA crews, as well as the Football Club for assisting us with Safety, facilities and catering for the event. “The feedback from competing crews has been very positive and we look forward to coming back again next year”.
Local accommodation was also heavily booked with crews overflowing to Traralgon and surrounds on Friday and Saturday nights.
Warren Lee (pictured) and David Lethlean in the JDL Furniture EVO 9 Lancer won the first heat over Dowel/Spedding by 13 seconds, with Warragul brothers, Steve and Glen Raymond a further 23 seconds back in third. Both Dowel and Raymond suffered from mechanical issues in the first heat, handing an advantage to Lee, who grabbed the opportunity to add to his championship points tally.
Lee could not hold on in Heat 2, with Dowel overcoming the misfire he suffered in Heat 1, snatching the Heat 2 win by 35 seconds, a margin enough to also take the outright event win by 22 seconds over Lee. Raymond battled on in Heat 2 with a leaking head gasket to bring home 3rd in each heat.
Meanwhile in the EXEDY 2WD Championship, a battle was being fought out between Brian Semmens and Dan Parry in their Nissan 200SX and Andrew Bell and Correne Seabrook in their Holden Commodore. Bell had set some blistering times in Round 1 several weeks back, but was unable to repeat this performance on the trickier Gippsland roads.
Bendigo brothers Steven and Brent Mackenzie were also setting some quick stage times in their new Ford Fiesta ST, until roll ended their rally on Stage 3. Semmens went on to win both heats over Bell with an overall margin of 44 seconds, with Damion Smith and Kylie Turner rounding out the 3 in their Datsun 1600.
The Hyundai Excel Rally Series that is conducted as part of the VRC was won by Viv Dilkes-Frayne and Doug Fernie with a consistent drive in both heats. Andrew Thompson and Simon Barton-Ancliffe lead for most of the day until rolling out of the event on stage 7.
The EXEDY VRC now heads to Bairnsdale in East Gippsland for Round 3 on Saturday 5th May.
Top 5 Outright Placings
Justin Dowel – Scott Spedding Mitsubishi Lancer EVO 9 1h 23m 31s
Warren Lee – David Lethlean Mitsubishi Lancer EVO 9 1h 23m 53s +22s
Steven Raymond – Glen Raymond Toyota Corrola N(p) 1h 25m 07s +1m36s
Tristian Penhall – Jolie Middleton Subaru WRX Sti 1h 26m 52s +3m 21s
Wayne Stewart – Lucas Zinsstag Subaru WRX Sti 1h 27m 11s +3m 40s
2012 EXEDY VRC Championship Points after Round 2
Dowel – Spedding 110 Points
Raymond – Raymond 97 Points
Lee – Lethlean 92 Points
Stewart – Zinsstag 70 Points
Penhall – Middleton 67 Points
Photo: John Doutch
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