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The Quit Forest Rally was a dramatic round for many Western Australian Rally Championship competitors with rolls, fires and mechanical issues, so there is no doubt that there’s comeback plans in the works for this weekend’s Trade Hire Karri Rally held in the Wheatley Plantation near Manjimup.

Current WARC leader Mick Steele during the recent Quit Forest Rally.

Mick Steele and Tracey Dewhurst in the Japline Subaru WRX STI are the current leaders of the championship by eleven points, and one of the few teams to get through the Quit Forest Rally without any setbacks. However, due to Dewhurst competing in her home state of Victoria this weekend, Alex Butler will be stepping into the co-driver’s role for Round Two.
Tom Wilde and Nick Clements sit in second place, however Wilde will be swapping to the navigator’s seat and into the Clubman Cup category for Trade Hire Karri Rally when he co-drives for Daniel Webb in the Daihatsu Charade.
Rally WA Panel Chairman Ross Tapper explained that the Clubman Cup is open to 2WD vehicles only and will be doing four of Trade Hire Karri Rally’s six stages.
“Clubman Cup competitors do not follow pace notes or participate in recce – this category is designed to be more accessible to rally enthusiasts,” Tapper said.
Wilde is not the only 4WD category competitor who has swapped to the Clubman Cup for Round Two, with New Zealander Mike Young also joining the category. Young has returned to Western Australian rally after recently competing in the Asian Pacific Rally Championship and claiming third. Co-driving will be Peter Barnes, who is looking to gain some further rally knowledge from the experienced Young.
Sean Keating and Caleb Ash will be dusting off their 2014 championship winning Nissan Silvia, after rolling their Subaru WRX in a spectacular fashion down a steep embankment at the Quit Forest Rally. The team left the road at a speed of 135 kilometres and rolled 11 times, walking away from the wreckage with only very minor injuries thanks to the high tech safety equipment.
Fellow 2014 winner, Doug Tostevin and Tammy Adams struggled with gear selection issues in the S Technic Subaru WRX on the Saturday of the Quit Forest Rally, but are hoping to recoup some points at the Karri Rally.
Maximum Motorsport teams of Brad Markovic and Glenn MacNeall, and John O’Dowd and Ben Searcy experienced a very heated Quit Forest Rally when both team vehicles caught fire. O’Dowd and Searcy have managed to repair their vehicle in time for the Karri Rally, while Markovic and MacNeall are hoping their new vehicle will be ready for the Canberra Round of the Australian Rally Championship in a fortnight.
All eyes will no doubt be on multiple state champion John Macara who will be joining the fray after missing the first round. Macara will be teamed with co-driver Lee Tierney in the AISAT Instruments Mitsubishi Evo 7.
With the non-appearance of current Clubman Cup leaders Jason Lowther and Paul Lowther on Round Two’s entry list, the opportunity will be there for second placed Dene Courtis and Dan Adams to close the 12-point gap.
The Trade Hire Karri Rally comprises of two stages run three times, equalling a combined competitive distance of approximately 100 kilometres. There will be a mixture of the familiar and the unknown for competitors - with one stage from the Donnelly Rally and the other a completely new stage taking place on roads that haven’t been rallied on for many years.
For further information on the Western Australian Rally Championship rounds, road closures and results please refer to www.rallywa.com.

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