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The J.A.S Motorsport, Mugen-powered Honda Civic Type R of reigning British Rally Champions, Guy Wilks and Phil Pugh, stunned the Australian rally establishment by finishing second outright in the first heat of the final round of the Australian Rally Championship at Coffs Harbour.

Competing against the more fancied 4WD Super 2000 cars, Wilks and Pugh pushed their 2WD Civic Type R with excellent times, winning two stages overall and taking second in another four stages to finish the heat second overall, just 30.1 seconds behind Simon Evans in the Super 2000 Toyota Corolla.

Expectations were high within the Honda Team for another successful day for Heat Two of the rally.

After finishing second in stage three and only 4.9 seconds behind new leader Eli Evans in his Subaru, Wilks and Pugh were putting in another fast stage time.

However, one kilometre from the end of the Sherwood stage, won by the Honda on Saturday, Wilks ran wide on a tightening left over crest corner, resulting in a high speed roll-over, putting them out of the event.

Wilks and Pugh were able to walk away unscathed, testament to the build strength of the J.A.S Motorsport Civic Type R.

Naturally they were disappointed with the way the day turned out. Talking shortly after the incident Guy said: “Gutted is how I feel to be honest, right now. After a great result on Saturday, there were high expectations from all, particularly after a great team effort.

“It was good fun to spank the 4WD cars and show the enormous potential of the Honda Civic Type R. We’ve all experienced the highs and lows of motor sport in one weekend,” Wilks said.

Co-driver Phil Pugh was equally devastated. “We knew the car was quick and it had plenty speed, so to finish like this is very disappointing indeed.”

Honda Australia’s Managing Director and CEO, Mr. Yasuhide Mizuno, said he is confident Honda can fight with the 2WD Civic Type R against the turbo charged 4WD competition.

“The current situation is quite challenging for us, however our desire and passion for competition has not diminished.

“I would like to thank J.A.S Motorsport, Mugen and of course Guy and Phil for a fantastic result on Saturday. We would also like to thank everyone for their endeavour and it gives us strong confidence to be able to fight in the rally championships in following years.” Mr. Mizuno said.

Photo: Dallas Dogger

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