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Hobart’s David Waldon and Ross Ferguson have won their first Tasmanian Rally title after securing points in the final round, the Auspine Scottsdale Rally held on Saturday.

Driving the e-Home Subaru WRX, the team kept a steady and safe pace for most of the rally after nearly falling victim to a mechanical failure on stage one.  In conditions that were already difficult following atrocious weather overnight, the normally 4WD Subaru became a 2WD version when the team broke a rear driveshaft.  Fortunately there was a service break after that stage, enabling the broken part to be replaced by his service crew.  This allowed the team to continue on and take the title, much to the relief of all involved.

“I can’t put into words how I feel.  Obviously we’re absolutely elated, but if the service boys hadn’t been able to fix our problem it could have been a very different story,” a very happy Waldon commented at the end of the rally.

Not so lucky, however, was the other contender for the title, Craig Brooks and Adrian Hodgetts in the Total Alarms Subaru WRX.  They got only as far as stage one when a coolant hose let go and they overheated their engine trying to get out of the stage.  Tragically this spelt the end of the rally for the Burnie team and consequently the title.

This left the door open for Hobart brothers Robert and Michael Stoneman in the Stoneman Garden Centre Mitsubishi Lancer to snatch second place for the title after a shocking season full of drama and disappointment.

The 2WD title wasn’t quite so clean cut and went right down to the final heat of the day. Hobart’s Craig Sault and Scott Creswell and Smithton’s Nick Kingston were in a neck and neck battle all day in the two Holden Commodores.

Kingston took the honours in the morning’s heat, beating Sault by nearly 1 minute, and set the scene for a tight finish to the season.

However, in heat two it all went horribly wrong for the north west pair. A sudden engine shutdown going into a slippery corner resulted in the crew firing off the road and they lost a massive 20 minutes before they could be assisted back onto the road.

Although they sustained no major damage and were able to continue in the rally, the chance for Nick to take the driver’s title had gone.  It was not enough though to prevent his co-driver, Ben Korpershoek, from taking the 2WD title for co-drivers in a twist to the scoring.

Sault, in his privately funded Commodore, took the 2WD glory for drivers, also his first state crown.

The overall rally winners, Jamie and Simon Vandenberg in their Mitsubishi Lancer, took the overall honours for the day, although as they had not contested any other rounds of the Series in 2006, their points for the win were irrelevant towards the Series outcome.

Photos from the event will appear in our photo gallery tomorrow.

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