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Twenty two year old driver, James Rodda has claimed Rally Power Motorsport’s first SA Rally Championship event win at the opening round of the 2013 championship, based in SA’s South East.

Rodda, alongside new co-driver, David Langfield, piloted their 99 Subaru WRX STi to victory in what turned out to be a very challenging Rallye Wattle Range event over 26th & 27th April based at Millicent.

Prior to the event the Rally Power Motorsport Subaru underwent an extensive “shell up” rebuild, carrying out maintenance, a few upgrades, converting the car to the new unrestricted class but most importantly eliminating the misfire issue the car had towards the end of 2012.

“Many, many hours went in to the rebuild, including very late nights! It was a real push to get the car finished for the event, with a few last minute issues, which are to be expected when rebuilding a car from a bare shell!” Rodda explained.

The rally kicked off with four stages at the South Eastern Automobile Club (SEAC) Autocross track, which includes a WRC style cross over bridge! Rodda & Langfield went into the Friday night stages unsure of how the car would perform considering the car was completely untested after the rebuild.
Straight from the word go, the crew were setting times inside the top five and even on stage four, setting an equal fastest time!

Saturday morning started with two short stages across the picturesque tarmac “Scenic Drive” in the seaside town of Beachport.  The event was turning out to be a close fight with Rodda & Langfield sitting in third only a few seconds off the lead.

Stages 7 & 8 were where the real challenge started. SS7 “Woakwine”, a 13km flat out run across private farm access roads before “Piccaninni”, a 35km forestry stage made up of rough sandy track and sections of fast flowing farm access roads. It was a stage not for the faint hearted! Rodda & Langfield made it through taking the stage win, but several crews, including some front runners were not so lucky either not making it through or having to withdraw on the following transport.

Following Service Rodda & Langfield increased their lead to 34 seconds by winning the afternoon set of three stages.

“After making it through Piccaninni we both really enjoyed the next three stages based around the wind turbines farm south of Millicent. These roads are much like some of the classic fast and cresty Rally SA roads. Both myself and Dave (Langfield) were starting to work well in the car!” Rodda stated.

The final two stages were almost identical to SS7 & 8, but this time run at night, except organisers had shorted Piccaninni to 29km to cut some of the sandy tracks out.

“Going into the final stage I didn’t know how much of a gap we had, just choosing a steady pace to make sure the car held together!”

Rodda & Langfield held the lead finishing the final stage over a minute quicker than fellow competitors, securing the event win by 2 minutes and 18 seconds!

“It is a great feeling finally taking our first win, one that has been close many times in the past few years! We went into the event with fairly low expectations due having no testing with the car at all, a new co-driver and really only just getting the car here!”

“I would like to thank everyone who has helped myself and the team get to this point in rallying! There are too many people to name, but they include current and past sponsors, my parents, everyone at Southern Districts and all the co-drivers who have guided me along the way.”

The team now prepare for the Scouts Rally SA (25th – 26th May) which is round 2 of the SA Rally Championship but also round 3 of the ECB Australian Rally Championship, based in Mt Pleasant.

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