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It's back to 1994 for this week's Rally Recall, when Graeme Wise drove the ex-works/Stig Blomqvist Ford Sierra XR 4X4 to victory in a dry and dusty Alpine Rally. * * * * * Graeme Wise and Helen Wylie have moved into a comfortable lead in the 1994 Victorian Rally Championship following their one minute 21 second win in the NEP Alpine Rally on March 26. Traditionally tough, hot, dusty and a real test on competitors and vehicles, the Wise and Wylie team were prepared in advance for possible breakages, however the sturdy, reliable Ford Sierra XR 4x4 enjoyed the rough, tight forest tracks, performing brilliantly. As the winner of the 53rd Alpine Rally, Wise said he had always thought of the Alpine as 'the event to win' since his early rallying days in a Datsun 1600. Braking problems on the Wise/Wylie Sierra caused minor dramas in the morning's stages, but with those fixed Wise reeled in the leaders to take an historic victory. Wise paid tribute to the local media coverage given in the Albury-Wodonga area where the rally was based, with all three local TV stations providing footage before and after the event, along with extensive radio and newspaper coverage. “That's the only way to push our sport to the fore,” Wise said. “Thanks to the involvement of North Eastern Petroleum the event should enjoy many more years of success in the North East of Victoria."

Graeme Wise and Helen Wylie celebrate their Alpine Rally win.

As Wise and Wylie rocket towards a second consecutive Victorian Rally Championship, they have also moved into second position in the 1994 Australian Rally Championship. The Alpine win and fifth place in the C10* Rally of Melbourne proved that consistency is what gains results. Graeme Wise and his team are now looking forward to their next event, the C5 VIC TV Rally of the Valley in Traralgon on April 23. Simon Evans and Sue Brick led for a few stages, but gearbox problems relegated their Nissan Pulsar GTiR to second place, ahead of the similar car of Peter Evans and Rob Beekman, also struggling to the finish with driveline worries.

Future Aussie champ, Simon Evans, was second in a Nissan Pulsar GTiR.

In hot and dusty conditions the attrition rate was high, with only 24 of the original 37 starters making it back to the finish in Albury The 1994 version of the Alpine Rally was widely regarded by competitors as being one of the roughest ever, however, most of this can be accounted for because of the amount of rain that fell in the area late last year and the fact that many of the stages hadn't been used for many a long year. Overall the rally ran well, and fully deserved its inclusion in the Australian Rally Championship. * In the 1990s the Australian Rally Championship ran a co-efficient system, with minor events carrying a co-efficient of 5, and major events a co-efficient of 10. Final results: 1994 NEP ALPINE RALLY 1. G. Wise/H. Wylie, Ford Sierra XR 4x4, 1h54m20s 2. S. Evans/S. Brick, Nissan Pular GTIR, 1.55.41 3. P. Evans/R. Beekman, Nissan Pulsar GTIR, 1.55.47 4. G. Plumridge/P. Humm, Toyota Corolla GT, 2.02.23 5. T. Sullivan/T. Borg, Suzuki Swift GTI, 2.02.44 6. B. Collins/J. MacDonald, Holden Commodore V8, 2.03.17 7. R. McNay/A. McNay, Toyota Celica ST162, 2.03.53 8. M. Rodgers/P. Mahoney, Subaru RX Turbo, 2.03.58 9. 1. Regester/A. Murray, Mazda 323 4WD, 2.04.07 10. D. Draper/M. Hobrough, GPN Suzuki Swift GTi, 2.04.52
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