Tassie Rally Championship starts this weekend
- 12th June 2009, 10:52am
The 2009 Tasmanian Rally series kick into gear on June 13 with the Styx Valley Rally, held in the Styx-Florentine forests north of New Norfolk.
Conducted by the 500 Car Club of Tasmania, this is acknowledged as one of the fastest rallies in Australia. A late start to the four-round season means a strong field of competitors are keen for action after a 9 month break.
Defending champion Craig Brooks will be unable to defend last yearâ€™s Mt Lloyd win after an enormous crash in Februaryâ€™s Rally Tasmania. This provides a great opportunity for many crews to challenge for a maiden win. The combinationâ€™s of Pete Oâ€™Reilly/Daniel Willson, Mark Butcher/Jessica Nicholson and Liam Coyle/Cameron Rolls, all have eyes on their first trophy yet will be hard pressed to beat ex-State Champion Lynn Rattray, fresh from Targa Tasmania and keen to improve on his and co-driver Lindon Hills 2008 second placing.
â€œWe have no real expectations but hope to be competitiveâ€ said Rattray, â€œStyx is always very fast and we will have to be switched on going back to gravel after Targaâ€. The locals will not have it all their own way with a late entry from Victorian Nathan Reeves, brother to Australian Rally Championship regular Brendan Reeves, in a Subaru Sti Spec C.
Trailing those in the turbocharged, all wheel drive rockets will be the 2 wheel drive classes. Whilst unlikely to challenge for outright victory, competition will be fierce for class honours. Former Formula 2 Australian Rally Champion, Lee Petersen, recently purchased back the Nissan Pulsar Gti in which he won the championship and along with co-driver James Booker will be the benchmark for others to chase despite a one year hiatus from the forests.
â€œI re-purchased the car to have some fun, however I am pretty serious about challenging for the 2 wheel drive title,â€ said Petersen.
Hot on Petersonâ€™s heels for 2WD honours will be Launceston crew Aaron Reader/Scott Murfet in a Mitsubishi Mirage Cyborg and debutantes Stephen Turner/Anna Flittner in their Ford Falcon XR6.
First car will be flagged away from the New Norfolk Esplanade at 9am with service and lunch held at Maydena before a return to the finish on the Esplanade at approximately 4pm. Spectator information can be obtained at the start location.
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