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Steve Shepheard and Tom Smith increased their lead in the 2007 City Subaru Queensland Rally Championship on the weekend with a strong win at the Rydges Rally, based in Yeppoon.

In clinching another win, the GSA/Oztec team held off a herd of young chargers who each achieved their best championship results to date.

Erik Johnnson and John McCarthy took a fine second place in their Subaru Impreza WRX, holding off Stephen Tonna/Lorelle Greenwood (Evo 5 Lancer) to establish the podium positions.

Early in the event, the Evo 9 Lancer team of Glenn Brinkman and Steve Richardson were pushing hard and challenging for the lead, but a hard landing in a dip caused underbody damage and an unfortunate early retirement.

The demise of the Brinkman/Richardson car gave Shepheard/Smith the opportunity to consolidate over the latter half of the event, but their winning margin was still close to three minutes.

Fourth place went to Dave Gaines/Nikki Doyle in their Datsun 240K GT, with fifth place being taken by Ian Menzies/Bob McGowan in the HandyForm Falcon XR8, despite a mid-event gearbox change.

The event is a perennial favourite with rally crews, and a good entry of 40 teams lined up for the start at Rydges Resort in brisk winter weather.

The event suffered some retirements due to mechanical breakdowns, but a happy collection of rallyists enjoyed the presentation dinner and after-party at Rydges Resort that night.

The QRC continues with the next round at Coffs Harbour, entering new ground with a combined QRC/NSWRC rally. It is expected that a healthy representation of Queenslanders will make the journey south on August 18.

A full report on the Rydges Rally will follow.

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