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Paul Williams of Mount Lawley (WA) has won the ultimate rally fan’s prize – a fully supported competitor entry into Telstra Rally Australia 2006 courtesy of Telstra Rally Australia, The West Australian and 96fm.
 
The 37-year-old landscape gardener, who recently moved to Perth from Victoria, was speechless and couldn’t stop shaking when he was told he had won.
 
The ultimate Win-A-Drive prize includes a fully supported drive in a World Rally Championship vehicle, expert training from Maximum Motorsport, an experienced co-driver, a service crew and a race suit worth over $20,000.
 
“I came across the Win-A-Drive coupon by chance in a café flicking through the paper, and thought the prize was too good to be true not to enter,” said Williams.
 
“Competing at Telstra Rally Australia, one of the world’s best rallies and to line up alongside the likes of Norwegian showman Petter Solberg, Australian’s own Chris Atkinson and the Flying Finn Marcus Gronholm will be a once in a lifetime opportunity,” he said.
 
This won’t be the first time that Mr Williams, or Noddy to his close mates, has tried his hand at a form of competitive motorsport. He competed in a motokhana when he was younger, has worked as an official at the Australian Rally Championship round in Queensland and was Vice President of a Car Club for a number of years.
 
Five Win-A-Drive finalists undertook driver training with Maximum Motorsport, in the hope they could convince the judges they had the driving skills and smarts to handle a rally car and the stamina to endure three days on one of the world’s most demanding rally circuits.
 
The five drivers were assessed by former Australian Rally Champion Rob Herridge and current Australian Rally Championship co-driver Bill Hayes for their safety awareness, driving skills, ability to function as part of a team and their knowledge of Telstra Rally Australia.
 
The other finalists were 26-year-old mechanical fitter Nic Marshall from Maddington, 25-year-old cray fisherman Michael Tatham from Lancelin, 24-year-old Adrian Mills from Margaret River and Paul Cronin from Kallaroo.
 
“Paul Williams demonstrated a attention to detail, smooth driving style and willingness to listen and ask good intelligent questions is essential since he has such a lot to learn before the event,” said Herridge.
 
As part of the Win-A-Drive ultimate prize, Williams will also receive intensive one-on-one training with a CAMS (Confederation of Australian Motor Sport) sanctioned instructor who will brief and assist with teaching driving technique, mental preparation, mind and car control, personal fitness, and more. The training will take place over an extended period of time, to allow Williams to practise and develop his skills.
 
Telstra Rally Australia takes place in and around Perth from 26-29 October. Tickets start from as little as $20 and are available from Ticketmaster on 1300 136 122 or from www.rallyaustralia.com.
 
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