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Current Tasmanian Rally Series title holders, David Waldon and Ross Ferguson, in their e-Home Subaru WRX, have taken outright victory in the Southern Cross Mountain Stages Rally.  This is the Hobart based team’s third win in a row at the rally, which is based around the foothills of Ben Lomond in Tasmania’s north-east.

However two other contenders suffered rally-ending problems on the second of the day’s eight stages of this, the first round of the Tasmanian Rally Series, which was conducted by the Motor Sports Club of Tasmania.

Burnie’s Craig Brooks and Adrian Hodgetts in their newly acquired ex-Crocker Subaru WRX were the first casualty when they ran wide on a corner and their Total Alarm Services WRX ended up on its side.  Although neither crew members were injured in the accident, their car was too badly damaged to continue in the rally.

Second casualty was the Agricultural Resources Management WRX driven by Lee Peterson and James Booker, who suffered a gearbox failure, leaving the team stuck in fifth gear.  The crew was able to limp clear of the stage and back to service, but the problem was unfixable at service and they withdrew from the rally.

“The car ran faultlessly all day,” winner Waldon said at the end of the rally. “It was a shame that Craig and Lee put their cars on their trailers early.  It took away a bit of the fun, but we’ll take the win as it comes.”

Proving that smooth and steady pays off, north-west father and son crew Kerry and Tim Auty in their Classic Engineering Celica GT4 finished second outright.

This left the way clear for the top two-wheel drive contenders to muscle their way into the top three, but the final position on the podium was far from an easy grab.

The 2WD category was hard fought right through the day, with all teams struggling in the hot dusty conditions.  As expected it was a battle of the Commodores, with current 2WD title holder Craig Sault and Scott Creswell taking 2WD honours and third outright, but they didn’t have it all their own way with only one minute separating the next two competitors.   

Local crew Tim Ritchie and Barry New in the Thomas Parker Rare Spares Holden Commodore quietly made their way into second 2WD position, after having a trouble-free run.  Third 2WD home and 5th outright was another local team, Christian Philp and Mark Watkinson, in their Ford Cortina, who set some sensational times during the day, but the quiet consistency of the other teams beat them to the line.

So, after the first round of the Tasmanian Rally Series, the Waldon/Ferguson crew are at the top of the table, followed by Auty/Auty and Sault/Creswell.

The Tasmanian Rally Series moves to the south of the state, with the Huon Rally on Saturday, May 5.

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