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Newcastle driver Chris Giddins has sealed the 2013 NSW Rally Championship with his win in the Kumho Rally of the Bay over the weekend, despite having a last minute scare on the final stage of the event.

Giddins driving a Mitsubishi Evo 6 had a tough struggle over the opening stages swapping times with South Coast driver and pre-event favourite Gavin Croker as well as reigning NSW Champ Canberra's Michael Harding, until first Croker and then Harding were forced out of the rally with mechanical problems in a rally that featured an amazing attrition rate.
 
Croker led the first two stages before he broke the front suspension on his Lancer while Michael Harding went out with a broken gearbox while leading the rally on the fifth stage.
 
With Croker and Harding out of the rally Giddins went into the final nine kilometre special stage with a lead of just over two minutes only to have a component snap in his car's rear suspension part way through the River Road stage, causing he and co-driver Damien Harris some anxious moments as they nursed the car to the finish.
 
In the end Giddins triumphed by 3mins 40 seconds over Gold Coast husband and wife team Matt and Karen Martin in a Mitsubishi VR4 who also had to nurse their machine to the finish with a blown turbocharger.
 
The fast pace, hot temperatures and strong competition took its toll on the field with just 34 of the 54 starters in the event making it to the finish, while all six starters in the Rally of the Bay Meander, a shorter novices event staged within the Rally of the Bay, made it to the chequered flag.
 
Richard Knight made it an all Mitsubishi podium bringing his Lancer Evo 3 home in third just 37 seconds behind Matt Martin.
 
Chris Giddins said the rally was a real test of speed and reliability and a win in both the Rally of the Bay and the NSW State Championship was reward for the preparation and effort he and his team put into leading up to the rally.
 
"The event was fantastic with superb roads that allowed us to attack the stages and they provided a great place to really enjoy a challenging rally," said Chris Giddins.

"It was bad luck for Gavin Croker and Mike Harding but that is the nature of the sport, you have to be there at the end to get a result," he added.
 
For Matt and Karen Martin second place was a reward for many years of persistence and effort and is the first time they have finished on the podium after many years of rallying.
 
Victorian brothers Justyn and Steuart Snooks took out the three round Webstor East Coast Classic Rally Challenge in their classic Datsun Stanza despite finishing second in the Classic category to rapid Canberra Datsun Bluebird driver Brett Stephens who not only won the classic category but also was the first two wheel drive car home and took fourth outright.
 
Rally organiser Col Fletcher said the high attrition rate was amazing but thankfully there were only a few crashes with most of the retirements coming as a result of mechanical failures.
 
"We had a couple of roll overs and crashes but none of the crews were badly injured thankfully, the worst being one driver who suffered a broken rib after rolling his Nissan Silvia," said Col Fletcher.
 
'The competitors had nothing but praise for the rally particularly the roads we used and we are already planning the 2014 Rally of the Bay," he said.
 
"We are aiming for the June Long weekend on 7-8th June and we hope that it will be a round of the Victorian Rally Championship as well as the NSW series which will mean a big influx of interstate competitors which we hope will give us a field of around 100 cars," Col added.
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