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Trade Hire Donnelly Rally – Saturday May 18

Leigh Hynes will come out full throttle when round two of the WA Rally Championship (WARC), the Trade Hire Donnelly Rally, kicks off on Saturday.

Hynes won the event last year and said: “I love the high speed roads and there's plenty of room to throw the car around even off the road a little here and there.”

The rally will be contested over 150 kilometres of fast and narrow roads around the Donnelly Mill, not far from Bridgetown.

It’s an opportunity for Hynes to grab valuable championship points after a less than perfect start to the season. The Subaru WRX driver is sitting in equal fourth position with 2012 WARC Champion Alex Stone.

Both drivers had challenges in the opening round of the WARC – the Quit Forest Rally (QFR) around Busselton and Nannup last month.

Hynes’ car suffered a broken exhaust manifold and a fire burnt wires to the alternator in Heat One. He went on to win Heat Two.

Meanwhile Stone won Heat One but his WRX suffered major structural damage on the first stage of Heat Two when he slid wide and hit a concrete bollard. He was unable to continue.

Unfortunately for Stone, the reigning WARC champion, he’s still working to repair the car and it won’t be ready in time for the Trade Hire Donnelly Rally.

“We’ll need to get a section of the body cut out and replaced I think,” he said.

Dylan King, who was the WARC outright winner of QFR with a consistent run in both Heats of the event, said his tactic for the Trade Hire Donnelly Rally was to again drive at a comfortable pace and finish on the podium.

The 18 year old who was last year crowned the youngest ever WARC Two-Wheel-Drive Champion is competing in the Outright category for the first time this year. He said was still getting used to his Subaru WRX but had learnt a lot from QFR.

Other strong competitors in the outright field are likely to include John Macara who failed to finish QFR in a Mitsubishi Evo VII and Brad Markovich, who is returning to the sport after a long absence, in a 2012 Subaru WRX.

In the 2WD competition, Razvan Vlad in his Ford Fiesta will again go head to head with 2012 2WD Challenge winner Sean Keating in his Nissan Silvia.

Vlad, whose plans for 2013 include all WA gravel rallies plus Rally Australia, Targa West and Rally Thailand, scored 35 championship points in QFR despite problems including a flat tyre and broken driveshift in Heat One.

Just a point behind him is Keating who has a new biggest fan. He and wife Carly welcomed son Chase just over a week ago.

The Donnelly Rally is also a Clubman event held over a shorter distance of 100km.

The strongest competitors are set to include Steve Vass in a Datsun 1600 and Carl Rattenbury in a Ford Escort.

Trade Hire Donnelly Rally starts on Saturday at 1.15pm from the Donnelly River Holiday Village.
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