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With the first two rounds done and dusted, Saturday,  June 6 will see Round 3 of the WA Rally Championship hit the dirt in WA’s south western town of Collie, and the crew of Craig Richardson and Lisi Phillips will not be missing out on the action.

After a 15 year break from the sport, Craig Richardson purchased the ex-Denis Dunlop “recce car”, a Mitsubishi VR4, with the aim to compete in the WA Rally Championship. Richardson previously campaigned a Hyundai Elantra in rounds of the Australian Rally Championship.

Joining him on this adventure is Lisi Phillips, an experienced competitor who, after a 12 month drought from co-driving, jumped at the chance to get back in the “silly seat” along side Craig.

With no real expectations of each other or the car, the pair headed into the Quit Forest Rally which was round 1 of the season and finished with pleasing results. Heat 1 saw them finish 12th outright, while Heat 2 saw a placing of seventh outright. With a smooth run under their belts, the crew headed into round 2, Lewana Stages, in a comfortable position. Another trouble-free run at this event, apart from the dust issues competitors had, saw Richardson/Phillips finish 11th outright.

Currently, the VR4 campaigned by Richardson/Phillips is sitting comfortably in second place in their class, P6, behind fellow VR4 owner Derek Reddie who is currently 12 points in front. Jeff Thomas is a further ten points behind in his GT4 Celica.

Richardson/Phillips will start as car 17 on the road at this weekend's Experts Cup and will aim to capitalize on their recent good results and further themselves up the point scores to maintain their top ten placing in the championship.

The WA Rally Championship consists of five rounds, all of which Richardson/Phillips intend on contesting before Phillips breaks team ranks and heads to Victoria in November to compete in the 2009 Alpine Rally.

Between the Experts Cup and round 4 of the championship, there is a two month gap which she is hoping to fill with a new challenge as she is seeking a ride for the Australasian Safari in August.

The team would like to thank its support crew (Ethan, Wayne and Chris) and Alcoa of Australia for making it possible for them to compete this year.

The first car will leave the start at 1.30pm with crews competing on 113 km (8 stages) of WA forest roads which they will have had the chance to pace note during the morning prior to the event start.

Photo: Brian Percival

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