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A big field of 54 cars have entered the first round of the NSW Rally Championship, which gets under way with the pacenoted Rally of Lithgow tomorrow.

A flock of Mitsubishi Lancer Evos head the field with the first 11 places held by the Japanese favourite, while Claude Murray’s Datsun 1600 breaks the run of Evo power at car 12.

The fight for victory is likely to be fought out between the first five cars, with brothers Kelvin and Gavin Croker taking on current champion, Michael Boaden, former ARC frontrunner John Mitchell, and 2006 Queensland Champion Glenn Brinkman.

Boaden and Brinkman last did battle in rear-wheel drive Escorts at last month’s Otago Rally in New Zealand. Then, Brinkman’s rented RS1800 had a power advantage over Boaden’s 2-litre Escort, and this weekend the Queenslander’s current model Evo 9 should have a similar advantage over Boaden’s Evo 7.

Any of the first five drivers could win the event, but for rally fans much of the event interest will come from lower down in the field, where Australian Rally Commission Chairman, and former Mitsubishi works driver, Ed Ordynski, will drive a front-wheel drive Hyundai Excel for the first time.

One-make series’ for Hyundai Excels are gaining in popularity across the country, and Ordynski has taken up the offer of a guest drive in the Rally of Lithgow, and will have to perform well to beat current series pacesetter in NSW, Glenn Farrant.

Molly Taylor will also continue her learning curve with another event with Dale Moscatt in the left hand seat.

The event also sees a number of classic rally cars running at the back of the field, headed by the Escort of Gerald Schofield.

Former Alpine Rally winner, Ian Hill, will make a much-anticipated return to rallying in a brand new BDA Escort, while other cars of interest include Ben Ruggles’ Triumph TR7 V8, and Queenslander Richard Galley in a Datsun 240K.

Further details on the Rally of Lithgow can be found at the official event website.

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