Round 3 of the WA Rally Championship, the Lewana Stages, was held in the Grimwade Plantation north east of the service park at Ballingup oval on Saturday, May 15. The Western Racing team of Darren Windus and Ash Ridden, driving the Western Caravans Toyota Corolla Sportivo, had drawn car 5 for this roadbook event and were looking forward to the challenge.

“At fifth on the road the lines are starting to appear which always helps on roadbook events, and also everyone we want to watch is in front of us,” said Windus prior to the start.

All started well for the new pairing with wins on the first two stages seeing them return to the first service with a lead of 14 seconds over the Subaru of Chris Anderson/Ben Searcy, with the Mitsubishi of John Macara/Ashley Burton a further 32 seconds adrift.

Windus was enjoying being back in a turbo car after the normally aspirated S2000 cars he has driven in recent years and was putting the extra power to good use, pushing hard through SS3 to further extend their lead in the event, when the problems started.

“About 8 k’s from the end of stage 3 the left front driveshaft broke, and as a result we ran wide on a couple of corners and had a small off . We were glad to make it to the end of the stage but surprised to have set equal fastest time with Chris (Anderson),” Windus commented after the event.

An inspection prior to the start of SS4 revealed a damaged shaft and the decision was made to limp through the 14 kilometre stage and try to get back to service, however 4.8 kilometre into the stage, the front differential failed, leaving the crew stranded on the side of the road.

After the event, team owner Wes Ridden said, “While it was a disappointing way to end our first event with Darren in the car, we were very happy with the speed we showed prior to the diff failing. We now have to concentrate on getting the car fixed and ready for the next round at Collie in four weeks.”

Western Racing is backed by Groundforce Rentals, Western Caravans, The Caravan Depot and Refit Tyres (GT Radials).


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