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Over the Christmas and New Year break a new team has been formed to battle it out in WA rallying. The largest and certainly most diverse group of cars in one team will hit the stages for the 2009 State Rally Championship (WARC).

All privateers in their own right, the team of six cars has formed to pool resources and ease the burden of logistics and getting people and equipment to events. The team also has a strong line up of talent to compliment the machinery. This year a car from every class of the WARC will be represented in the new team.
Starting with class P1 (under 1600cc, 2WD), Alex Sleep (formerly Kirkhouse) will be running her new Daihatsu Charade. A highly decorated co-driver taking WARC victories in 2003, 2004, 2006 and 2008, (as well as various wins driving in club level events), Alex will swap seats from co-driver to driver for 2009.

Kevin Sleep, (husband to Alex), will be competing in 2009 after a year's absence from the WARC in his class P2 (1600cc, 2WD) Honda Civic. Kevin also has a swag of trophies taking WARC wins in 2004, 2006 and 2007.

The team's P3 (2000cc, 2WD) line up will feature Geoff (Vatanen) Leatt-Hayter in his Ford Escort MK II. Geoff is a hard charger and took WARC wins in 2007 and 2008.

This year a new car and driver will join the team and the WARC. Kiel Douglas will enter the championship in a V8 Holden Commodore that will fall into class P4 (Over 2000cc, 2WD). The team is hard at work completing the build of the Commodore and is looking forward to a thundering V8 hurtling through the WA forests. Whilst Kiel himself may be new to rallying, he is well known for his talented driving in club events, having taken several podium placings.

The P5 (over 2000cc, 4WD) class for the team will be contested by Karl Drummond/Karen Russell in their Subaru WRX STi. The pair took second in the tough P5 class in the 2006 WARC and Karl was third Australian driver over the finish ramp at Rally Australia 2005.

Jeff Thomas and Anthony Paynter will head up the P6 (pre-1992, over 2000cc, 4WD) challenge for the team. The current title holder for this class after winning the 2008 P6 championship in the WARC, Jeff also took the 2008 rookie driver trophy as well in his Toyota Celica GT4 ST165.
Team Manager (when not competing), Karl Drummond, commented on the new team, "Whilst we have run some of these cars and crew together before, this is the first time we have all come together into one team. Really, it all made sense: We all share common facilities and equipment, all work on each other's cars and are all good friends."

"Having everyone together should make logistics easier and looking at it competitively, we're hedging our bets. If nothing else, we're increasing our odds of bringing home trophies and championships within the team this year."

"With the amount of talent the team has, it's not an unrealistic goal. We may also run a seventh car in the team in 2009 as well. Chris Kirkhouse is close to completing a rebuild of his Suzuki Swift and has plans to enter selected rounds - we'll just wait and see."
The new team is currently finalising co-drivers and seeking sponsorship as it prepares to tackle the first event in the WARC, the Quit Forest Rally from April 3 - 5.
Team enquiries can be directed to Karl Drummond: 040 993 0996 or karl@iinet.net.au

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