Dutton Rally crown goes West
- 1st August 2006, 2:23pm
The three day rally saw last years Series winners Notaras/Arthur have to pull out on day one with clutch problems, NSW winners Berry/Newman damaging their car on the Saturday night special stage in front of thousands of spectators, and Day 1 and 2 leaders Muller/Pitman breaking a drive shaft two stages from the finish.
Cherry, whose family owns the AHG Driving Centre in Perth, and Ledger, an automotive engineer and father of actor Heath Ledger were ecstatic with the win, which will now give them a fighting chance to take out the National Series, with the final event in Victoria in just seven weeks time. “I was hoping for a top ten finish, but to take out the win is just unbelievable” an excited Ledger said on Sunday night. “The car didn’t miss a beat all weekend, and Mat drove the car brilliantly.”
Cherry also took out the coveted Drivers Championship, whilst Queenslander Shane Topping was the top Co-Driver in a Subaru WRX. New South Welshman Trent Kennedy won the driver’s class handicap in a Nissan Skyline, and ARC star Spencer Lowndes took home the co-drivers class handicap in a Mini Cooper S JCW.
Seventy cars lined up for the popular round of the four-state series, which included over 20 different marques from a 1977 Ford Escort – the oldest car in the field, to a 2004 Ferrari 575 Maranello- the most expensive. Beginning in Warwick, regional QLD, the rally saw driving rain on day one, which made things interesting for drivers in the tarmac series.
Day two, however- saw the clouds disappear for a perfect Queensland day as drivers headed for tests at Queensland raceway and drag strip, and then onto the Saturday night stage in Southport’s Broadwater carpark, which was a highlight for spectators.
The man at the helm, National Director Anthony Moss, said the weekend was a compete success, and will now make the series very interesting. “There are now no fewer than five teams who can take out the series” Mr Moss said. “We have had a new winner for each round this year, so things will be very interesting in seven weeks time for the Victorian round.”
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