Kirkland wins rally series by six seconds
- 24th October 2012, 11:24am
Clear skies greeted the crews and officials on Saturday morning, with dust set to add another challenge to the fast flowing roads around Mathinna. Early in heat one, Kirkland and Marcus Walkem (Mitsubishi Evo 9) traded fastest times, with Kirkland breaking away over stages 4 and 5 with a stunning drive over Tower Hill.
A surprising third in the heat was 2011 ARC Junior finalist Stephen Turner (Ford Falcon XR6). A late entrant, Turner showed that he is ready to make the step up to the ARC in 2013, beating the four wheel drive entries on stage 2, to take the stage win by 2 seconds, and finishing the heat in third.
There were some casualties early on. In his return to the TRS after a four year absence, Tim Ritchie (Subaru Impreza WRX STI) suffered engine issues from the start, culminating in engine failure on stage 3. The husband and wife team of Ben and Bec Sheldrick also struck trouble in stage 3, with clutch issues becoming apparent, with the booming V8 Commodore retired in stage 4.
By winning heat one, Kirkland drew level on points with Walkem going into the final heat of the series. With both cars suffering from niggling issues, the fight for the series was well and truly on! Walkem and Kirkland again traded times over the next four stages, using roads used in heat one, with Kirkland holding a narrow 12 second lead heading into the final stage, which had yet to appear in the event.
Charging across the final stage, Walkem was only able to take 6 seconds out of Kirkland's lead, with the final margin for the heat being 6 seconds. This result allowed 21 year old Kirkland to clinch the title, whilst Walkem's co-driver Damien Grimwood took out the outright co-drivers title.
More strong performances came from Turner in heat two, again finishing third outright, to take third for the event, a stellar drive. Second in two wheel drive fell to Darren Clark and Daniel Willson (Mazda RX7) with Clark taking out the two wheel drive series. Third were Scott Newman and Cameron Rolls (Daihatsu Charade) who also clinched equal third in the two wheel drive series with Turner.
The Thomas Parker Rare Spares Club Rally was won by Devin Cullis (Hyundai Excel) from rally debutant Brad Trenham (Mazda Familia) with the hard charging Holden Gemini of Zac Chadwick (also debuting in the TRS) failing to finish having broken an axle late in the day.
This event concludes another fantastic year of rallying in Tasmania. Thank you to competitors, service crews, clubs, officials and spectators for making this year a memorable one. We look forward to a competitive 2013!
TASMANIAN RALLY SERIES RESULTS:
1. Sam Kirkland (Mitsubishi Evo 3), 167 points
2. Marcus Walkem (Mitsubishi Evo 9), 157
3. Andrew Wylie (Subaru Impreza WRX STI), 118
TWO WHEEL DRIVE:
1. Darren Clark (Mazda RX7), 128 points
2. Kurt Wylie (Datsun 200B), 88
=3. Scott Newman/Stephen Turner (Daihatsu/Ford), 77
Photo: Sam Kirkland and Matt Best
Photo Credit: Mark Young
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