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Three WA drivers have made it to the finish of the gruelling Coates Hire Rally Australia around the Coffs Coast on the weekend.

The event, which was round 10 of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), had a long list of casualties as teams battled with long stages and extreme dust.

Frenchman Sebastian Ogier (Volkswagen) claimed victory at the event after winning 18 of the 22 stages, while Coffs Harbour local Nathan Quinn and former WA co-driver Glenn Macneall, competing in a Mini and together for the first time, were crowned first Australians. They finished eighth.

Mike Civil and son Jack were the highest placed WA team finishing 20th Outright in their Mitsubishi Evo 9.

“We’re rapt,” Civil said. “We had some dramas on day one and had to change the gearbox but then we had two really good days of rallying.”

Civil said the dust was not too much of a problem for him: “It’s similar in some ways to a dry WA event, like the Quit Forest Rally. I prefer it dry and dusty.”

Coates Hire Rally Australia featured Australia’s longest stage at 49.9 kilometres which Civil described as ‘tiring’.

He added: “Nambucca’s a fantastic stage that has a little bit everything - the tight and twisty bits, long and flowing sections, tarmac and gravel. It mixes it up brilliantly.”

Maxy Rally’s Razvan Vlad finished in 23rd place. He put in some solid stage times but broke the clutch of his Ford Fiesta on Saturday.

The damage forced him and co-driver Daymon Nicoli out for the day, but the pair was able to restart on Sunday.

“I am very pleased that we could be quicker than the other three Ford Fiestas when we did not have mechanical issues,” Vlad said.

Coates Hire Rally Australia was also round five of the East Coast Bullbars Australian Rally Championship (ARC) and Busselton driver Tom Wilde finished in an impressive third place behind newly-crowned ARC champion Eli Evans (Honda) and Brendan Reeves (Mazda).

Wilde, who was the fastest ARC competitor on two stages, said: “We had some great results in stages early on but we were hampered by dust and an exhaust issue on Saturday which dropped us away from the leaders.”

“The long stages were very tough and hot, but tyre wear was the major issue,” he added.

Unfortunately WA’s Allstar Garage Rally Team’s two cars were unable to make it to the finish line.
Nicholas Box almost got there. He and co-driver Todd Payne had been in sixth place in the ARC field until the final stage of the event when he blew the engine of his Nissan 370Z.

Team mate Sean Keating was forced out on Saturday after his Nissan Silvia broke a tie-rod. The car suffered extensive panel damage after flying off the road and down a bank.

It was a disappointing end for Keating who made his interstate debut at the event and had finished Leg One in ninth position.

In the end ninth spot went to Victorian driver Steve Mackenzie and WA co-driver Ben Searcy in a Peugeot 207.

The next WRC event is Rallye de France Alsace from October 3 to 6 while the next ARC event is Rally Victoria on November 15 and 16.
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