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Exclusive: Australian rallying legend, Wayne Bell, has revealed that he was mysteriously refused driving duties in the final days of the 1979 Repco Round Australia Reliability Trial, in which his Marlboro Holden Dealer Team team-mate, Peter Brock, took victory.

Wayne Bell (right) and MHDT boss George-Shepheard.Speaking in an exclusive interview with RallySport Magazine, Bell said that the factory Commodores were having a big fight for victory, and that team manager, George Shepherd, was happy for the rally to takes its course. But that wasn’t how it panned out.

“To achieve a 1-2-3 for Holden was unbelievable. It is history now that Brocky and I were having a right tussle,” Bell said.

“Before Townsville, in car 17, we had decided to back off and let Brocky go and we would cruise to a comfortable second. We figured GM could get better publicity from Brocky winning than us.

“However, there was a big team meeting in Townsville which I was not privy to.

“After Townsville I never got to drive the car again. I had to ask Fergy (Barry Ferguson) to let me drive into Newcastle, my home town, and he reluctantly agreed.

“I don’t know what went down in Townsville to this day, but I am pretty sure instructions were for Brock to win, and I don’t think the big brass at GM trusted me to let that happen.  I don’t know what I did, but from that day on I was out of favour with GMH management.“

Years later, Bell received an email from General Motors asking him to drive a Holden Calibra in Targa Tasmania - but that never eventuated.

“I replied that I would love to, and jokingly said ‘No second place this time’.  I never heard back, and next thing I know Ed Ordynski was driving it.  Such is life!”

Bell later went on to run Hyundai’s first foray into rallying, campaigning a succession of front-wheel drive cars in the Australian, Asia-Pacific and World Rally Championship.

He was recently given celebrity status by Hyundai Motorsport at the Rally of Portugal as he watched the team competing with the i20 World Rally Car.

Read the the full interview with Wayne Bell HERE.

- Peter Whitten

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