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One of the most famous rally roads in Australia will once again echo to the sound of rally cars this Saturday.  And although it’s been a few years since the Australian Rally Championship has blasted along its fast flowing corners, competitors in the Tasmanian Rally Series (TRS) revel in it every year.

The Stoneman’s Garden Centre Styx Valley Rally is the penultimate round of the TRS and is a highlight on the five round calendar.  Conducted by the 500 Car Club of Tasmania, it will use roads through the Styx Valley between Bushy Park and Maydena in the state’s south, including much of the awesome Styx Road itself.

“All the roads in this rally are flowing and just magnificent to compete on, but the Styx Road itself is just sensational,” current TRS leader David Waldon commented.

However Waldon won’t be hoping for a repeat of his performance at this rally last year, when one tricky corner caught him out, resulting in a spectacular roll-over and his Impreza WRX needing to be re-shelled before the next event.

Waldon has a clear lead for outright position in the series, but still chasing hard and determined to close the gap is Burnie’s Lynn Rattray in the Pirtek WRX, and Hobart’s Lee Peterson in the ARM WRX.  These two teams are tied on points – so neither will be taking it easy.  

Missing from the 4WD line-up is the flamboyant Craig Brooks who is still repairing the Roger’s Signs WRX after a heavy hit in the previous round.

But it’s the two-wheel drives that are providing the most excitement and close battles in 2007, in a classic Ford vs Holden contest.  There’s only 10 points separating current leader Christian Philp in the Rockit Asphalting TD Cortina from Craig Sault in his VL Commodore.  Tables are turned, however, on corrected points where competitors are required to drop two heats, leaving Philp on 60 points, but Sault retains his full quota of 70 points after not finishing two heats to this point.

Amongst other 2WDs that will be starting the Styx Valley Rally is Launceston’s Ray Skeggs in a Ford Falcon XR6, and southerners Mark Kyle in a Datsun 1600, and Brad Gunn in the Motul Fulton Enterprises Daihatsu Charade.  All have the chance to make a big impact on the two leading contenders if they stumble, with potential to really cause a points upset.  

As an indication of the strength and interest in Tasmanian rallying, there are also several new competitors entering this rally, keen to cut their teeth on some of the finest gravel roads in the country.

A late entry for Les Walkden Rallying driver, Brendan Reeves, has also added extra interest to the event. Reeves, one of the sensations of this year’s Australian Rally Championship, will drive the Subaru Impreza RS that he drove in 2006.

Entrants in the Stoneman’s Garden Centre Styx Valley Rally will assemble on the Esplanade in New Norfolk at from 7:30am, before the first car departs at 9am.  The 17 crews will complete 110 competitive kilometres before returning to New Norfolk at around 3pm.

The major spectator point is on Styx Road, which is easily accessible from Karanja on the main road, just west of Bushy Park on the Gordon River Road.  Spectator guides, an entry list and times when the cars can be seen in action are available from Stoneman’s Garden Centre, Autocraft and Moonah Auto Salvage in Hobart, and Legana Tyres and More in Legana.

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