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WA rally drivers Tom Wilde and Nicholas Box have claimed their best results of the year at round four of the 2013 East Coast Bullbars Australian Rally Championship (ARC), the International Rally of Queensland (IROQ), at the weekend.

Wilde finished second in his Renault Clio R3 to championship leader Victorian Eli Evans in a Honda Jazz G2 while Box was fourth in his Nissan 370Z.

For both WA drivers consistency proved a successful formula in a challenging event that included shire roads and forestry stages around Imbil on the Sunshine Coast.

Wilde’s rally got off to a flying start on Friday night when he was fastest on the Pedders Power Stage at the Nambour Showgrounds. The win gave the young driver an immediate confidence boost and he and co-driver Bill Hayes continued to set impressive stage times throughout Saturday and Sunday.

The pair sat in third position for most of IROQ while Renault Rally Sport teammate Scott Pedder was chasing rival Evans. However Pedder lost ten minutes after an off on the second last stage of IROQ and slipped to fourth. He was later relegated to fifth because of a penalty.

Wilde, who described his rally as ‘enjoyable’ and his driving style as ‘smart’, said he was delighted with recent improvements Racetorque had made to his Clio.

“We got a lot more horsepower,” he said.

While IROQ was mostly a dream run for Wilde, he admitted there was a scare on Sunday morning when his car’s oil pressure warning light came on and he thought his rally may have been over. Thankfully, it wasn’t and he was able to celebrate his 26th birthday on the podium.

Meanwhile fellow Western Australian Box was finally able to show off the capability of his Nissan which has been in a developmental phase for most of the year.

“We had a reasonably smooth run although we did have some braking issues on Saturday,” he said.

Box added it was good to finally ‘put in some decent times’ and was pleased how the car handled with a new suspension set up.

“Now we just need to get a bit more weight out of the car,” he added.

Also representing WA at IROQ was co-driver Ben Searcy who competed with Steve Mackenzie in a Ford Fiesta. Unfortunately the pair was forced to retire from the event with mechanical problems.

On a sad note, the WA competitors and WA rallying community have expressed their sadness at the death of a co-driver competing in the Queensland Rally Championship section of the event. The rallying community wishes for a full recovery for the driver who remains in a Brisbane hospital.

The next round of the ARC is the Coates Hire Rally Australia in New South Wales from September 12 to 15.
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