Tasmanian Rally Series to go down to the wire
- 20th October 2016, 3:11am
Three teams will go into next Saturday’s (29/10/2016) final round of the Tasmanian Rally Series separated by just two points in what looks set to be a David and Goliath battle in the forests around Mathinna.
Hobart’s Lee Peterson and co-driver Daniel Willson will go into the LWR Mountain Stages rally in their two-wheel drive Nissan Sunny GTi with a one point lead over the four wheel drive turbocharged Mitsubishi Evo 9 of Marcus and Scott Walkem, with another one point gap back to the Subaru WRX STi of Keith Abblitt and Adrian Hodgetts.
It’s been 29 years since a two-wheel drive car won the TRS, and on that occasion in 1987 ironically it was Lee Peterson and co-driver Marcus Oates who claimed the title in a Mazda RX2.
“If it stays dry we may have an outside chance, but if it’s wet the 4WDs will come into their own. I’m a bit surprised to be leading actually, but we have finished all six heats in the top five and the car has been reliable, and I’m also very pleased we have already wrapped up the 2WD class for the year,” the former Australian Rally Champion class winner said.
The Walkems are the 2015 ARC four-wheel drive champions and while they missed the opening round of the TRS, they won the next four heats and will go into this event as the team to beat.
Abblitt/Hodgetts won the opening two heats of the series, but then had a DNF and a troubled sixth place in the Hellyer Rally, otherwise they would have been in front after finishing second and third in the Southern Safari.
Eddie Maguire and Michael Potter are currently in fourth position in their Mitsubishi Evo 9, 31 points behind Peterson/Willson and mathematically could win the title, but the front three would need to finish out of the points in both heats, which is highly unlikely.
A possible spoiler for outright event honours could be Craig Brooks and Reubecca Sheldrick in their Subaru WRX, providing last year’s champions can keep it all together.
The Motor Sports Club of Tasmania organised event will be run over two heats and 10 stages ranging in length from 5 kilometres to 20 kilometres, with a total competitive distance of 140 kilometres.
25 cars are expected to line up for the event, demonstrating that the sport has been through a strong rejuvenation in the state.
The first car is due to leave the Mathinna recreation ground at 10.00am and finish at the Mathinna Club at approximately 5.30pm.
There will be designated spectator points and guides will be available from Les Walkden Enterprises, Legana Tyres, and More and Thomas Parker Rare Spares.
- Barry Oliver
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