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Last year’s champions, the Group 4 Rallysport team of Bill Dunn and Josh Hyde are back to contest the series and recently competed in the Inkjet Sapphire Coast Classic event in their FIAT 131 Abarth Rallye (replica).

The East Coast Classic Rally Challenge is a three round series designed for cars built before 1982 including the classic rally cars like the FIAT 131.

The Sapphire Coast Classic, run as part of the Bega Valley Rally, was round 1 and the Kuhmo Rally of the Bay is round 2 (cancelled due to torrential rain -  its date to be rescheduled) and the 3rd and final round will be the Border Ranges Rally.

One major change for 2013 is the new naming rights sponsor, WebStor, a Brisbane based IT company that provides websites, including Rally Australia.

With the announcement that WebStor is supporting the series with a cash prize of $1000 to the winners, the challenge is one of the more lucrative rally series in Australia, most series offering only a trophy to the victors.
 
“We went to Eden in the right frame of mind,” commented Dunn. “We got there early Friday afternoon, and Josh and I were a little concerned about not having even been in the car for eight months, but even so, when Sunday dawned we were ready to go.”
 
The rally start had a great atmosphere, with the cafés, the wharf area, fishing trawlers returning with the night’s catch and plenty of locals turning up to see all the cars.
 
“We left the start area and transported to the first stage  - the car felt great – and all the pre-event nerves were gone. Josh and I had decided to take it easy in this stage – due to the unknowns of the car – and our team rustiness!

“Wayne Bell and Neal Bates were at the stage start and it was great to have them come over wishing us well.
 
“At the 15km mark in the next stage, on a right hand bend, doing around 7000 rpm and accelerating through the corner – there was a loud bang, immediately followed by a vibration. I slowed right down, and continued in 2nd gear at a very subdued 3000rpm whilst trying to work out what had happened.

“It seemed to be the gearbox but I wasn’t totally sure, and in case we were about to loose a tail shaft I kept the speed well down. We did the remaining 6-7km like this, amazingly only dropping 1 minute on those around us.

“We knew it was the gearbox – so  with no third gear we decided to drive the stage as best we could, using the remaining gears. The gearbox was getting worse, so we stuck it in fourth and by the time we got to the service at the end of the stage, the gearbox was toast.
 
“So that was us done for the rally,” Dunn commented
 
The team intends to compete in the series this year, and if funds allow, the Alpine Rally in Victoria as well.

In 2014, they intend to compete in the Otago Rally in New Zealand.
 
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