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Heatwave adds to hotly contested season finish in WA

Darling 200 2WD winners Vlad / Nicoli. Photo: Paul van der Mey

Temperatures soared to close to 37 degrees in Jarrahdale during the hotly contested Darling 200, the final round of the CAMS Onslow Contracting Western Australian 2WD Rally Championship (WARC) and Clubman Cup and Clubman Masters series.

In hot and dusty conditions competitors raced a total of 82 kilometres on two stages that were run three times. All categories competed the same distance.

In a welcomed surprise, Team Hotel handed out icy-poles to sweaty competitors after the second, fourth and sixth stages.

Dignitaries MLA for Darling Range Barry Urban and Jarrahdale Shire President Michelle Rich waved the cars out of the picturesque Jarrahdale Oval service park with Australian flag.

Clerk of Course Wendy Walker said that despite the heat, it was a terrific rally.

“I’d like to thank the Shire of Jarrahdale, event and Rally WA sponsors and of course all of our volunteers for their hard work in hot conditions,” Walker said.

A minute’s silence was observed for Remembrance Day.

2WD

Before Darling 200, Razvan Vlad said he was going for the win and he did just that finishing fastest on all six stages with co-driver Daymon Nicoli in their MAXYRally 2004 Ford Fiesta.

Vlad said that the changes made to the drive shaft were effective; a broken driveshaft was the reason he missed Carrington’s Safari.

“It was extremely hot which made it quite difficult, especially in the first two stages. The organisers supplied cold water and icy poles, which was a really good idea,” Vlad said.

“The stages were rough, particularly towards the end. I was pushing but then slowed down in the final two stages because we had a good gap and we wanted to avoid the rocks.

“I’ve won Darling two years in a row so it’s fast becoming my favourite event.”

In second place 2:53 minutes behind was Gregory and Deann Flood in their Greg Flood Electrical 1994 Mitsubishi Lancer. In third place 2:37 mins behind the Floods was Andy van Kann and co-driver Murray Hynes in vkrallye 1974 Toyota Corolla.

Tom Wilde and Madelin Kirkhouse made history last month winning the 2WD Championship as well as the WARC outright championship at Carrington’s Traffic Services Safari. It was the first time in 30 years a 2WD vehicle has taken the outright title.

Vlad / Nicoli finished the WARC 2WD in second place overall and Flood/Flood finished the championship in third place.

Clubman Masters Darling 200 winners Courtis/King. Photo: Paul van der Mey

Clubman Cup

Finishing their second rally of the season, Lance Stringer and co-driver Jace Van Saarloos jumped on the bonnet of their Lawnswood Pet Cremation 1989 Nissan Silvia S13 before taking the top step of the podium victorious in the Darling 200.

Stringer, 44, was delighted with the win and said it was a realisation of a 30-year dream.

“My very first rally was the Darling 200 three years ago and I came dead last. Last year I finished Darling on the podium in third place and was pretty happy with that. This year was even better winning it!” Stringer said.

“Although, I have to admit I wasn’t very well prepared – I forgot to put fuel in the car and only remembered that on the way to the start line so it was a bit of a panic. And I left my race suit at the farm.

“I had to race in long cotton clothing instead [permitted in Clubman series] – I looked like a wood-chopper compared to other drivers!” quipped Stringer.

Stringer acknowledged the support from his co-driver and team manager Karl Drummond for keeping the car reliable, as well as event organisers and volunteers.

Stringer/Van Saarloos finished round one, the Kin Kin Rally in third place, and did not finish rounds two or three, and did not start rounds four, five and six.

In second place of the Darling 200 was Brock Nicoli and Daniel Adams in their MAXYEngineering 1994 Mitsubishi Lancer.

Third place at Darling 200 went to Andrew Percival and co-driver Jim Pearce in their True Blue Alarms 1997 Honda Civic.

A finish on the second step of the Darling 200 podium was enough for Nicoli/Adams to win the 2017 Clubman Cup series. The duo finished fastest at Carrington’s Safari and in Round 3 at Boddington, they came second in the first two rounds and third in Round 4 the Experts Cup. In Round 5 in Kirup, they rejoined the rally to score half points in fifth place.

Nicoli said that he had no idea he was in contention for the series win until a couple of rounds ago.

“I’m stoked! Knowing that we had a chance for the series title changed the way we approached each rally – we reduced the risk factor to make sure we finished each event,” the 18-year-old cabinet maker said.

“I’d like to say a huge thanks to Raz and Ioana Vlad, without them I wouldn’t be in this position, also to my mum and dad and all the organisers and officials. I really appreciate it.”

Nicoli said he hopes to contest the WA State Championship next year.

Finishing the season second in the Clubman Cup series was Andrew Percival and Jim Pearce in their True Blue Alarms 1997 Honda Civic.

Percival/Pearce took the approach, ‘To finish first, first we must finish’ which paid long-term dividends for a successful season result.

In third place of the Clubman Cup series was Graeme and Kathy Miles in their Miles Landscaping 2007 Mitsubishi Lancer.

Clubman Masters

In the Clubman Masters, you could say that Dene Courtis and Robert King ‘did a Bradbury’ to win the class in their Askwith Safe company 1990 Toyota Corolla FX GT.

While Nic Box and co-driver Mitchel Gray showed pace in the first four stages taking the lead, it was a mechanical failure that let them down forcing retirement in stage five, paving the way for the reliable car of Courtis/King to take the win.

This article is a press release supplied to RallySport Magazine from an event, team, or media outlet.

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