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Never before rallied roads will ensure a level playing field for the second round of the Motul-Dunlop Tasmanian Rally Championship, near Smithton this Saturday (May 20).

Sara Rogers will compete in the Subaru RS Challenge.The Tall Timbers Hellyer Rally will be held in the Togari area, 30 km West of Smithton, on gravel forestry roads never before used for rallying.

A field of almost 30 cars from all over the state will leave the Tall Timbers Resort at Smithton at 9.45 a.m., competing over two heats (morning and afternoon) of four closed-road stages each, finishing around 4.30 p.m.

Despite no home ground advantage in the first round of the Tasmanian championship near Mathinna last month, North-West drivers Eddie Maguire (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9), his younger brother Steve Maguire (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 5), and former Targa Tasmania winner Jamie Vandenberg (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 3), dominated the podium.

Although they will have little or any local knowledge for the Hellyer Rally, the Coastal Mitsubishi crews will likely be the teams to beat again this Saturday.

However, their biggest danger could be fellow Coastal driver Craig Brooks, who has purchased last year’s Australian Rally Championship winning Subaru Impreza WRX STi, and will use the Hellyer Rally as a shakedown ahead of the third round of the national championship in Victoria the following weekend.

The season opener at Mathinna attracted the biggest field for a Tasmanian Rally Championship round for 20 years, boosted by the introduction this year of the Buckby Motors Subaru Impreza RS Challenge, with the one-make series attracting 12 entries for the opening round, with only 30 secs separating the second to seventh-placed teams, with the competition this weekend is expected to be equally as tight.

Opening round spoils went to Somerset driver Nic Grave and navigator Scott Spedding, who won by over two minutes, making them the team to beat again this time out

Meanwhile, as the only all-female team in the championship, Smithton crew Sara Rogers and Elise Wilson, will be hoping even some basic local knowledge may give them the edge this weekend as they strive to improve on their eighth place at Mathinna.

In addition to their own one-make series, the Subaru Impreza RS challenge crews are also eligible for Tasmanian Rally Championship points in the outright and four-wheel drive over 2 litre classes, with series leaders Grave and Spedding finishing 11th outright and fifth in class at Mathinna.

Saturday’s rally will include two great spectator points at Barcoo Rd, Montague and Britton’s Swamp.

Spectator guides will be available at the start at Tall Timbers, or from event sponsors Carter Mechanical at Smithton, and North-West Mowers and Total Alarm Services in Burnie.

The spectator guide and programme will also be available on-line at the North West Car Club website from Wednesday, at www.nwcctas.net

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