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Leigh Hynes has claimed victory in an event described by some competitors as one of the toughest WA Rally Championship events ever.

Round five, the LRT Custom Engineering Lewana Stages, was run in wet and muddy conditions around Kirup, near Balingup, on Saturday and, for most drivers, one of their biggest challenges was simply staying on the road.

Hynes, who was fastest over all six stages said he sometimes felt like a ‘passenger’ in his Subaru WRX.

“It was really, really slippery and sometimes the car just went wherever it wanted to,” he explained.

Hynes finished the rally more than three minutes ahead of Doug Tostevin (WRX) who acknowledged: “Leigh is hard to beat.”

“We had a great run. We just kept it clean and ran a suitable pace to the conditions,” Tostevin said.
Points’ leader John O’Dowd (WRX) was third.

Sean Keating again took out the 2WD competition and now has an unassailable lead on the championship with five wins from five rounds, but the Nissan Silvia driver’s rally wasn’t without its challenges.

“The first stage, it was all systems go from the start until my accelerator pedal broke and jammed under the brake pedal,” he said explaining he had to use the clutch when he wanted to apply the brake.

Later, his car developed an electrical problem that limited his engine to 3000 RPM. Keating said:

“The boys fixed it well enough in service for me to get out there and finish.”

Dylan King, who just a week before the rally announced he was switching from running a WRX in the Outright competition to his Ford Escort with the 2WDs, was second. Aaron Foster in a Hyundai Excel was third.

King was fastest 2WD challenge ahead of Andy van Kann who described the event as a ‘zero error game’.

“One minor error anywhere, anytime, any corner, any mud hole and it was game over,” van Kann said.

For his co-driver Abbey Hayes, successfully finishing the event, means she has already claimed the title of 2014 Rookie Co-Driver.

Meanwhile, 2013 2WD champ Razvan Vlad (Ford Fiesta), who hasn’t finished a WARC event so far this year, won the first stage of the rally but retired with a gear box problem.

In the Clubman Cup competition, Duncan Leighton was victorious in an Escort. The event was just his second outing for 2014 and his first win of the year.

Toyota Corolla drivers Dene Courtis and Jason Lowther from LRT Custom Engineering were second and third respectively.

The next WARC event is the Carringtons Safari Rally around Chidlow on October 11. It’s the final event of the season for Outright competitors, but the second last for 2WD and Clubman Cup teams.

For motorsport fans, the gap between gravel events is filled by WA’s premier tarmac rally, Quit Targa West.

The event will feature almost 80 classic and modern cars and be run around Perth, Toodyay and Bullsbrook from August 14 to 17.

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