The East Gippsland Stages, the first round of the 2010 Victorian Rally Championship, will spring into action on May 15th.

Organised by the Melbourne University Car Club, the event, now in its fourth year, was introduced to the Victorian calendar in 2007 with the aim of taking Championship rallying back to East Gippsland, where the club had held the legendary Akademos Rally from 1972 to 1993. Forty six starters in last year’s event showed that 21st Century competitors have embraced this wonderful rally area.

The event will be the first VRC to run under the new “two heat” scoring system – meaning that one problem won’t necessarily spoil a competitor’s whole weekend.

Run in the traditional day/night format of the past Akademos Rallies, the rally will start close to Bairnsdale at about 12:30 pm.  Thanks to the event being held after the finish of daylight saving, it also means crews will begin to finish as early as 9:00 pm.

The final stages of this year’s course are currently  being surveyed, and it is hoped to present up to 125 km of competition, split fairly evenly between daylight and dark. An extended service break will allow all crews to finish the afternoon stages in daylight, while it is ‘lights on’ for everyone for the night stages.

The extended service time may prove a boon to competitors because of the two heat format for the 2010 VRC.  As well as allowing those competitors who cannot see in the dark to score well in the afternoon, anyone having a meaningful blast at night will still be in contention.

With Mark Fawcett stepping up to the VRC this year as reigning champion Justin Dowel did a few years ago – it will be chance for the next, tight bunch of competitors to step up as well.  Expect to see Warren Lee, David Nutter, Wayne Stewart, Ian Martin, Matt Swan, Derek Reynolds and Nathan Reeves vying for top positions, all of whom could be a genuine chance for the 2010 title.  Warren Lee, in his new Evo IX, and Nathan Reeves in the Spec C WRX should be the pair to chase.

Jesse Robison and Brian Semmens will also be in contention.

The route has almost been finalised, and Regulations should soon appear, with online entries again being handled by Andrew Ormescher. The organisers include Clerk of Course Glen McAliece, and Peter Otzen as road director for the Melbourne University Car Club.

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