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Triple 7 Racing and JK Rallysport began the Coffs Coast Forest Rally on Thursday night with a bang in the two tarmac super special stages in front of thousands of enthusiastic spectators who had gathered to watch the Australian Rally Championship round and World Rally Championship round, run in conjunction.

Tyler gained confidence and speed around the super special stage, but the damp surface from rain caused the car to slide into the Armco on a fast right turn, much to the crowd’s delight.  The well organised and efficient service crew were able to make the required repairs on Friday morning (once the car was released from Parc Ferme) to the bent left steering arm, well within the 10 minute allowed service time.

Tyler and Kelley gelled immediately on the first stage of 29.03k's and were setting a cracking pace, until a fast straight that slowed to a tight left sent the car understeering into a bank.  Unhurt, the team lost over 20 minutes on the stage, but were determined to continue.  They pushed on and even passed the car in front on the next stage, beating their fellow competitor's time!

"We decided that rather than give up after that incident and be down about it, we were going to dust ourselves off and give it everything we had and drive the car until it would go no further.  It made us even more determined to finish the event.  With the wet conditions cars began falling off the road.  

“There were over 10 cars off on the Shipman’s Stage.  We even passed seven time World Rally Champion, Sebastian Loeb who had rolled his Citröen.  Ogier had an off as well and was sitting by his car as we passed him!” said Tyler.  

“The World Rally drivers said that this event was one of the hardest they have ever competed in.  It was my first ARC and I loved it.  Coffs Harbour was the perfect setting for the event.  It was central to everything and the town really supported the rally with record crowds.  I've never seen anything like it.  The rally was extremely well organised and the officials were all helpful and friendly and they all joined us in our elation at the finish of the rally as they had shared our turbulent journey over the past few days."

“We had a very small budget and we are grateful to our fellow teams who assisted us with servicing the car and providing us with some parts and lots of race tape!  I think there are only three panels on the car that aren't dented.  That just goes to show how dedicated we were to getting to the end.  No matter what we threw at the car, she took it all and still got us over the finish line!  I couldn't believe it.  

“Each time we arrived into the service park the number of spectators at our tent grew in depth and their support and encouragement was amazing!  They were laughing and joking with us and even verbally assisting the service crew!" said Kelley.  "Our Team Manager, Chris Simmons and the boys worked tirelessly to keep us going.  Chris noted the cracked left steering arm and replaced it in record time on Saturday.  

“Our team's work was so inspiring and energising!  It was wonderful to be part of such a friendly and communicative team.  There was never any tension or stress even when we were racing against the clock.  I am very proud to have completed the ARC and it was an absolute thrill to be in an event with the WRC teams and my hero Petter Solberg!"


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