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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 year’s Mt Lloyd win after an enormous crash in February’s Rally Tasmania. This provides a great opportunity for many crews to challenge for a maiden win. The combination’s of Pete O’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.

“We have no real expectations but hope to be competitive” said Rattray, “Styx is always very fast and we will have to be switched on going back to gravel after Targa”. 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.

“I re-purchased the car to have some fun, however I am pretty serious about challenging for the 2 wheel drive title,” said Petersen. 

Hot on Peterson’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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