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19 June 2015

WARC frontrunners hoping luck changes for 2015 Quit Experts Cup  


The Western Australian Rally Championships and Clubman Cup competitors are busy preparing for the Quit Experts Cup which will get underway on June 27. The technical off-road rally course through forest terrain in Collie has not treated many of the current championship frontrunners well in the past, but these competitors are hoping that 2015 is the year they conquer this infamous round.

Nic Box and co-driver Caleb Ash in the Allstar Garage Evo 9, had a smooth run in the Trade Hire Donnelly round, proving themselves to be contenders in the 4WD category. Despite not experiencing much luck in previous attempts of the Collie stages, they are hoping their recent success turns things around.

“Experts Cup is a problem rally for me, with a big crash there in 2003 and five DNFs in a row from the past five starts, I’ve always experienced bad luck there. I’ll be looking to break that streak with a win, but I wouldn’t be surprised if something goes wrong,” Box said.

“Collie is more of a technical rally than a ballsy high speed rally. I don’t go out to win or bust every stage, but I don’t intend in coming second either. I’ll try and stay within the Top Five for the first few stages to ensure I don’t fall behind, and then push hard on the last couple of stages to make up some time against the frontrunners.”

Gary Whittle is another driver who is hoping the Experts Cup round is kinder to him this year than it has been in the past. He teams up with co-driver Steve Vass in a Subaru Impreza WRX sponsored by Rezolt Accounting and Busselton Subie Service.

“I have never had much of a result in the Experts Cup in the past, but I have still really enjoyed the stages. We are taking each rally as it comes this year, and although I feel confident going into Collie, we will be sticking to our plan to keep it fast but tidy,” Whittle said.

Garry says the success this year, which includes an outright championship round win at the Quit Forest Rally and taking third outright position at the Trade Hire Donnelly rally, is credited to his dedicated crew.

“My crew chief Darryl has been a huge influence on my racing this year, keeping me focused as well as helping out with the car. My co-driver Steve Vass has also brought a lot of expertise and knowledge to the team, as well as fantastic mechanical back up, often assisting our first class mechanics Ted and Ben. So with a good car and a great team, we're having a ball.”

The combination of Mark Travers and co-driver Lee Tierney are keeping 2WD category frontrunners Razen Vlad and co-driver Daymon Niccoli on their toes in their LRT Custom Engineering and Autoworx sponsored Toyota AE86.

“We had a great event the last championship round – we were trying as hard as we could, and the car performed well in the fast sections,” Travers said .

“I have competed in the Experts Cup twice before, our first time we had a crash and were unable to finish, and the second time we finished but the car had issues two kilometres into the first stage. I suppose you could say the course hasn’t been one of my favourites, but I can’t wait to get out there and give it another go.

“I think our strategy for Experts will be to go as hard as we can from the start. We learnt from the Forest Rally this year that you can’t afford to ease into it when competing against the likes of Raz Vlad, Sean Keating and the other top 2WD competitors – those guys are fast!” Travers said.

The competition in the Clubman Cup is also fierce with Dene Courtis and Robert King in the Toyota Corolla FX GT, only clinching victory in the Donnelly round from last year’s outright winners Carl and Tracey Rattenbury by seven seconds.

“The car is ready for Collie, with thanks to Platinum Autos and my co-driver Robert King who has put the car together in his shed in Wandering,” Courtis said.  

“We find the stages in the Experts Cup great driver’s stages, which are amazing to drive at night with the spotlights pointing the way.

“This is only the second time I have driven this event. We had a great fight with the Rattenburys last time in Collie, so we can’t wait to get out in the beautiful stages around Wellington plantation and dam, and challenge the Ford team again this year.”

This year’s Quit Expert Cup will comprise of just over 148 kilometres of competitive course for WA Rally Championship competitors and 99 kilometres for Clubman Cup competitors.

The WA Rally Championship vehicles rally each stage twice, in daylight and again in the dark. Only 2WD vehicles are eligible for entry into the Clubman Cup, with competitors rallying without a recce during daylight hours.

For further information on the Western Australian Rally Championship rounds, road closures and results please refer to www.rallywa.com.

The Onslow Contracting Western Australian Rally Championship is supported by Healthway and the Quit message, Onslow Contracting, Verandah Apartments, Auto One and Performance Racegear.
 

[ENDS]
 

Media Contact:  Lauren Cornes, Pronto PR, lauren@prontopr.com.au, 0431 080 811

Photo: Gary Whittle (driver) and Steve Vass (co-driver) at the 2014 Experts Cup Collie. Photo credit: Tim Allott. 
 
Notes to Editors
2015 Rally Calendar
  27 March   Quit Forest Rally
  9 May   Trade Hire Donnelly
  30 May   Newmont Boddington
  27 June   Experts Cup
  25 July   LRT Lewana Stages
  10 October   Carringtons Safari
  14 November   Darling 200

The WA Rally Championship has three main categories and awards trophies to top finishers in each sub category:
  1. WA State Rally Championship
    All events are one day that start at 1pm and typically finish around 9pm. Night rallying is a feature.
    1. 4WD category
    2. 2WD category
    3. State Challenge – restricted 2WD category (no recce / pace notes)
       
  2. Clubman Cup
    Clubman Cup is half the length / distance of the WA State Rally Championships. Events start at 1pm and typically finish at 5pm. This category is more accessible to enthusiasts and encourages those without the budget to compete in the WA State Rally Championships to rally.
    1. 2WD category – no recce / pace notes
  3. State Rookie Driver and Co-Driver
    1. WA State Rally Champion Driver
    2. WA State Rally Champion Co-Driver
    3. Clubman Cup Driver
    4. Clubman Cup Co-Driver
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