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The Fleurieu Peninsula of South Australia was alive with the sound of highly tuned racing machines on the last weekend of May.  The 2009 asp / Cut Price Adelaide Hills Tarmac Rally drew competitors from all over Australia to compete. 

The event has gained popularity over the last three years, and doubled from ten stages in 2008 to a two-day, twenty stage event for 2009 with 123km of competitive driving and a total distance of 540km.  Fifty-eight vehicles were entered to start on Saturday morning, and miraculously, the weather was fine, bucking the trend of previous years with no rain forecast for the entire weekend.

Day one was the first round of the SA Rally Championship, won by Rob Devenish and Lyn Carr from Victoria in a Datsun 280Z with a gap of just five seconds to two-times SA Rally Champion, Matt Selley and co-driver, Claire Ryan in a Subaru WRX Sti.  The day two field was diminished by a high attrition rate on day one, with 14 teams not making it to the end of stage 10.  A further seven competitors didn’t finish on day two, with mechanical failure being the most common cause of DNF’s over the weekend.

Reigning SA Tarmac Rally Champion, Steve Glenney and co-driver Clayton Lang, retired after bolts on the rear wheel sheared, and their now three-wheeled 1981 VC Commodore smacked the armco on Old Willunga Hill on the fourth stage, putting Glenney out of the running to win a consecutive championship. 

Main rivals for the title, 2007 winners Nick Streckeisen and Mike Dale, were second overall at the end of day 1, with Sam Brand and Darren Masters leading by only four seconds.  Andrew Burnard finished third on day one with co-driver Brian Virgo, a recent addition to the team after Kevin Weeks and Bec Crunkhorne’s accident in the Supaloc Lamborghini at Targa Tasmania meant Crunkhorne was unable to co-drive with Burnard as planned.

On day two, the Blewitt Springs stage caught Streckeisen and Dale out, with the Evo 8 RS leaving the road on the first stage of the day.  Driver and co-driver checked out okay and made it back for dinner, however the car is definitely worse for the experience. 

Brand and Masters had some trouble with Wickhams Hill in the Impreza, and Bernard and Virgo were consistently quickest, setting fastest times on all but two stages on Sunday to take the SA Tarmac Rally Championship for 2009.  Andrew Booker and Chris Edmunson took second in a 180SX, and Selley and Ryan were able to edge out Devenish and Carr on day two to take third overall by 25 seconds.  Eleventh overall and first in the Alternative Fuel category, was Phil Buggee and Paul Freame in the Fiat Punto Sport Abarth, which ran the entire event on 35 litres of biodiesel.

An auction and a quick whip around the tables at Sunday night’s dinner raised $1,450 for Cure4CF, in addition to the giant cheque for $10,560 raised through the rally and the asp Mount Alma Mile Hillclimb, held in April, which was presented to Cure4CF Sponsorship Leader, Greg Oke.

The organisers would like to thank the local councils for the support they have given throughout the planning process, and to the many residents who have shown their support for the event.

Organisers and sponsors have already committed to the 2010 event, which is being planned for May 29 and 30. 

Expression of Interest forms are already available on www.asprally.com.

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