Team Hyundai driver, Mick Gillett, and co-driver, Harvey Smith, have triumphed at the final round of the NSW Racebrakes Hyundai Rally Series to not only take the round win but to clinch the 2008 State Excel Series at the extremely tough, hot and competitive National Capital Rally.

The Hyundai crew did not have it all their own way with rear brake problems on the liaison section after stage 1 which made for an ill-handling car through the tighter corners until the brakes could be fixed at the second service after stage 4.

“Unfortunately we didn’t have a new wheel cylinder to put into the left rear at the first service so the service guys borrowed a second hand one from one of the other Excel teams which fixed the handling problem but resulted in a soft brake pedal for the rest of the rally. This caused us to be a little tentative, coming too hard into corners and cost us some time,” said Gillett. The team also had a couple of close calls with kangaroos in stages 2 and 6 which upped the pulse rate of both driver, navigator and probably the kangaroos!!!

The hot, dry and dusty conditions plagued the Hyundai team on stage 4 and 6 where navigator Harvey Smith suffered motion sickness about 3km from the end of both stages. Luckily for the Hyundai crew, the officials at the end of both stages had some cold water on hand to cool things down.

The eventual result for Team Hyundai Rallye was 13th outright, second in class P2 (1300-1600cc) and first in the NSW Racebrakes Hyundai Rally Series. The win at the weekend secured the 2008 NSW State Hyundai Series for driver Mick Gillett with the co-drivers' award going to privateer Ben Cullen who navigates for brother Mathew Cullen. Team Hyundai navigator Harvey Smith finished second in the navigator’s standings after missing out on points earlier in the season.

The next event for Team Hyundai Rallye will be when the Australian Rally Championship returns to Coffs Harbour on November 16. Coffs Harbour has not hosted a round of Australia’s premier rally championship since 1992, although Coffs rallies have been part of the Excel series for the last three years. With both team members growing up on the Coffs Coast, this should give the team some local knowledge on roads that they started rallying on back in the late eighties but they have also become familiar with in the Hyundai. So it will be “Game On!!!”

Pic: Matt Searle

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