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Seizing on the last chance opportunity to be part of this legendary event on home soil, 17 West Australian teams have committed to Telstra Rally Australia 2006.

Heading the list are Dean Herridge and Bill Hayes in their Maximum Motorsport-operated, ex-works Subaru WRX. With Dean and Bill’s exploits being well documented this year, many people will be following the likable duo as they tackle the world’s best competitors in the Production World Rally Championship section of the rally.

In addition to both Herridge and Hayes, there are both experienced and first time competitors as WA privateers. The Anderson family have entered three Spec C Subaru WRX’s. Father Mike Anderson, with Emma Plane alongside, will be looking at their stage times closely as sons Chris (navigated by Joel Lithgo) and James (navigated by Ben Searcy) will be just as fast in their identical machinery. Toby Heyring and Peter Turner will be looking to repeat or improve on there last year’s good result. This year the pair are running a new Spec C WRX.

Steve Maitland will be competing in his first Rally Australia this year. Using a Lancer Evo 5, Steve will be co-driven by the experienced Brian D’Arcy. Similarly Robert Ash (WRX) will be on his first international event with Shane Cary alongside as co-driver, whilst Peter Bennison and Tamara Adams will not only be on their first event, it will be the first turn of the wheels in anger in their newly built Subaru WRX.

Whilst the above teams have chosen their own separate ways for Rally Australia 2006, ten teams have joined Rally Team West for this year’s event.
Rally Team West is purported to be the largest private team to ever enter a WRC event. Rally Team West is now in its third year and is again proudly supported by WA local company, Golden Egg Farms.

The Golden Egg Farms Rally Team consists of both experienced and first time competitors to Rally Australia, the idea being that all competitors may draw on the expertise and resources of the entire team whilst still being individual competitors in their own right. At service parks and spectator points the team’s shirt will be distinctive and eye catching.

Heading the Golden Eggs Team for 2006 is Darren Windus with Jon Mortimer in the co-driver’s seat. Darren and Jon will contest Rally Australia in yet another Spec C WRX and have been renowned for charging hard in this year’s Australian Rally Championship.

Perhaps the most experienced Rally Australia entrant is next on the entry list. Tolley Challis, to be co-driven in his Lancer Evo 7 by Daryl Judd, is one of only two drivers to have competed in every Rally Australia. 2006 will be Tolley’s 19th start to the event.

John “Chucky” Macara and Greg Miles (WRX) are lining up to pool their skills this year. John has contested Rally Australia previously and holds much experience with the WA conditions.

Known as the real battlers’ story of 2005, Shane Eather and Alex Kirkhouse will be looking for a better outcome to their 2006 Rally Australia result. Having taken a year off rallying, Shane and his dedicated crew have meticulously repaired and re-prepared his WRX from 2005. The car was rolled in Rally Australia last year, repaired enough to continue under SupeRally rules and finished the event, although looking very “shop soiled” by the finish ramp.

Graham Furness/Mike Civil (WRX) and Warren Tuckett/Stuart Percival (Evo 7) will be looking to improve on last year’s results as well. With experience of the event and some fast driving, both teams were doing well in 2005 until both retired with blown engines at different points on the rally.

Shane Orkney will be another on his very first Rally Australia. This will also be Shane’s first drive in a 4WD car, a Subaru WRX. Shane will be co-driven by experienced Queenslander navigator, Tony Best.

Whilst Tim Abbott and Ivan Tan are not technically part of the Golden Eggs Rally Team, the pair have joined in an unofficial capacity for Rally Australia this year. This will be the pair’s first Rally Australia outing in their WRX.

Lastly and by no means least is the duo of Phil Steele and Mark Sforcina. Phil is driving his own WRX in TRA, this year’s rally being only the third rally he has ever contested.
Phil also has a vested interest in seeing the Golden Eggs Rally Team do well as he is not only a team member, but the CEO of Golden Eggs farms.

To contest an international rally is no mean feat. As privateers, many teams spend their time burning the midnight oil so that everything is prepared to get their cars and themselves through three days of gruelling rallying.

Rally fans, and particularly Western Australian rally fans, are invited to come and show your support for not only the World Championship teams, but the local heroes who will be competing on the same special stages of Telstra Rally Australia 2006.

Telstra Rally Australia starts on Thursday, October 26 and runs through until Sunday, October 29. Event details can be found at: www.rallyaustralia.com.au

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