2013 Carringtons Traffic Services Safari Rally

Rally teams returned to Perth for round five of the WA State Rally Championship in October. Using the f2013_Safari_startamiliar forest roads of Mundaring, the 2013 Carringtons Traffic Services Safari rally covered approx 120km of competition spread over 9 special stages.
Rain in the weeks leading up to the rally had created some damp and muddy patches as well as some deep water ruts along parts of the route.
On the day, the dust from the drying roads was evident and a breeze helped early through some sections, however in the evening the breeze dropped and the dust became more of a problem.

With a combined field of 46 cars in State and Clubman, the Safari garnered big entry numbers not seen for a while. The state teams ran on full paces notes whilst Clubman teams used the organiser supplied route instructions.

Leading the field away was Alex Stone/Hanna Drury in car 1. The pair had not turned a wheel in anger since the Forest rally in April when they heavily damaged their WRX at the super special stage in Busselton. The car had to be extensively repaired and there were no happy faces when on stage 1 of the Safari, Stone/Drury gently rolled the WRX into retirement, not even 10km into the event.

Mark Davies/Greg Flood had a turbo failure and a small fire in SS2 that retired their WRX and Steve Oxley, with last minute co-driver Aaron Foster retired their current shape STi hatch in SS3 with rear suspension failure.

Geoff Leatt-Hayter/Paul Helm have been using 2013 as a development year with their new Nissan 180SX. On the Safari a cracked radiator and blown hose emptied the cooling system and a resultant blown head gasket caused retirement after SS3. The husband and wife team of Alex and Lisa White also had problems with their S13 when the Silvia gave turbo trouble during SS5 which ended in retirement.

Father and son John and Tahni Macara weren’t able to catch a break in their Evo 7 on the Safari. Continuing a string of bad luck, the pair retired after SS5 with ignition problems.

Looking to battle hard for 2 wheel drive honours, Kiel Douglas/Anthony Paynter brought out their V8 Commodore out for a2013_Safari_Douglas_Paynter play. By the end of SS7, Paynter had succumbed to illness and the pair had to park up the car in service. Also running in the 2WD vein were the team of Sean Keating and Caleb Ash. The pair had trekked East for Rally Australia just a few weeks earlier and brought the car home needing repairs after steering arm failure caused an off road excursion. Ironically after working almost more hours than a day was

long to get their S13 Silvia to the Safari, the pair retired on SS8 when another brand new steering part failed and sent the pair off the road and beached on a mound of dirt. No one could remember the last time that all the cars in one class and particularly all the same brand of car in one class failed to finish a rally.

Amongst the 16 strong Clubman field on the Safari, the competitors contested roughly half the distance of the state cars. The Clubman Cup is for 2 wheel drive only vehicles and competitors must use the organiser supplied road book.

Mark Huitenga/David Lathwell put their older rear wheel drive Galant off the road in SS1 causing retirement and then something unusual happened on SS4. Son and Father Jason and Paul Lowther put their front wheel drive twin cam Corolla off the road out of the event, and just a couple of hundred metres up the road, Steve Vass/Ashley Burton stopped on the same stage when something in the drive line of their Datsun 1600 failed and caused retirement.
All of the retirements kept service crews, organisers and officials busy throughout the rally.

Within the state ranks, John Clinton/Richard Harris (Lancer Evo 8) finished 10th, with Lea Welch/Ben Trager taking 9th. For the pair it was their first ever rally in a 4WD Turbo WRX, Welch having previously been part of the rear wheel drive brigade.
Craig Puzey, this time co-driven by Jo McIlroy swapped his Subaru Legacy RS for a borrowed WRX on the Safari and were rewarded with 8th. Matt Snaddon/Blake Thompson brought their WRX to 7th and took the P6 class win for the rally in the process.

2013_Safari_King_PearceAustralian Rally Championship regulars Nic Box/Todd Payne swapped their Nissan 370Z for an older Nissan in the form of a Datsun 1600, and drove well in the basic spec machine to 6th outright.

Raz Vlad/Damon Nicoli had a huge battle all year (and on the Safari) with Keating/Ash for 2WD honours. The pair made 5th outright and won the 2WD championship section of the Safari as well.
John O’Dowd/Ben Searcy are very neat and tidy peddlers and usually do very well at each rally. Toward the end of the Safari, an ominous rumble in the rear end of their Spec C WRX was a worrying sound. The pair just made the finish when the rear diff failed altogether. Luckily the crucial piece in the driveline had held on long enough for the pair to take 4th place.

The first of the podium spots went to Leigh Hynes/Stuart Percival. The pair had a troubled day and at one point had to drive with 4th gear only when the gear selector failed in their WRX. 3rd place on the Safari however, was more than enough to win the State Rally Championship outright.
For Gavin Morgan/Chris Parish the Safari was an exorcism. The pair drove very well and the gremlins in their Spec C WRX seemed to have been cured, rewarding the pair with 2nd outright.

Showing their speed all year, the pairing of young gun Dylan King with the experience of Lee Tierney has worked well. The Safari had been kind and the duo won the Safari outright, however not without its dramas. By the end of the rally, the King/Tierney WRX had a serious knock in the engine and had there been another stage to contest, the result could have been very different.

Amongst the Clubman competitors, there were some notable tales: Michael Nairn/Stuart Nisbet were going well in their Toyota Corolla until SS4 when an off road excursion beached the car for around 15 minutes, dropping them down the order.
The last car on the road, a Toyota Levin driven by Tim Simmonds/Sarah Sevicke-Jones in their very first rally, completed the event and went on to finish 10th in the Clubman.

In the outright Clubman standing, Stephen Mackinlay/Tony Floyd brought their Mirage Asti to a well driven 3rd place. Nick King/Blake Pearce battled hard in their Ford Escort Mk II for 2nd and husband and wife Mark and Angelina Travers took the Clubman win in their Toyota Sprinter by just 10 seconds.

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