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It was a perfect day for rallying in the Huon forests south of Geeveston on Saturday and the competitors in the Hill Street Automotive Southern Safari took advantage of the fine weather to put on some of the closest competitions seen in Tasmanian rallying for many years.

But it was also some of the toughest and took a heavy toll on the field.

The first four stages conducted in the morning that made up heat one were taken out by David Waldon and Ross Ferguson in the e-Home Subaru WRX.  But it was only by the narrowest of margins.  Lee Peterson and James Booker in their ARM Subaru WRX were only one second behind, and although the points are on the board, they were left wondering what might have been had their intercom not failed in the first stage.

Third, a little off the pace but comfortable with the times that he’d set, was Craig Brooks and Daniel Willson in the Total Alarm Services Subaru WRX.

It was game on for heat two in the afternoon, and the top three contenders did not disappoint.  Peterson went out hard and took time from the other two early, but fate drew a cruel hand and he failed to finish the second last stage and withdrew from the event.  That left Brooks/Willson and Waldon/Ferguson to take the fight down to the wire.  

After over 110km of competition, there was only 11 seconds separating them at the end of the day with the ultimate victory going to David Waldon and Ross Fergon, both from Hobart.

“We’re absolutely delighted with this result.  It makes it so much more enjoyable when there’s several of us all swapping times and I think all our times show that we were all having a big go,” winner Waldon said

This gives Waldon a lead in the Series by 44 points after two of the five rounds.  

The 2WD category was packed with no less drama.  Heat one winner and current title holders, Craig Sault and Scott Creswell, in their Holden Commodore retired from the day with diff damage.  Fellow category contenders Christian Philp and Mark Watkinson in the Rockit Ashphalting TC Cortina rolled on stage 6, and although they were able to resume racing, the time lost cost them a podium position.  

That left the tidy and smooth Brad Gunn and Fiona Mackie in the Motul/Fulton Enterprises Daihatsu Charade to take top honours.  Gunn said that he was extremely happy with the car all day, and was over the moon with his first Tasmanian Rally Series victory.

The Tasmanian Rally Series now moves to Rocky Cape in the State’s far north-west, which will use roads that few of the competitors will have seen.

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