2018 Karri Rally – The long trek for round 1

Brand new event

The Karri Rally, the 2018 season opener was a far trek to begin the year. Based around the old mill town of Nyamup the event was a good 320km south of Perth. Again this year the rally and stages were brand new. Since 2015 the event has been in a state of flux. Forests around Donnelly, Manjimup and Kin Kin have all featured in recent years.

Rain & Dust

This year’s rally had 100km competitive with some stages starting literally from the edge of the service park. Apart from light rain falling most of the day, the weather had been dry. Without a good soaking the roads were loose and dusty.

32 cars lined up for the Karri Rally with some new names and machines on the entry list. Unfortunately car one,  John Macara/Garth McGuire (Evo 7) had to bow out before the rally started with engine troubles. Last year’s state champion driver Tom Wilde swapped seats and was co-driver to John O’Dowd (WRX STi) for this event.

Catching em’ out

Stage one was a quick 3.5km blast through the tall timbers before the 35km 2nd stage kept crews occupied. The long break from last season and the slippery conditions were catching a few out.  Liam Wrenne/Shaun McMacken brushed the scenery in their WRX as did Mike Joss/Megan Logue in their S15 Silvia. Brendan Quartermaine/Aaron Malloy (Nissan Sunny) slipped off the road acquiring some damage too.

Studs, gearboxes and suspension

By the mid point in the rally a few more had troubles. Raz Vlad/Daymon Nicoli set the fastest time in SS1 in their Ford Fiesta. In SS2 they sheered wheel studs and lost ten or so minutes effecting temporary repairs. Wayne Richardson/Bart Gregorczyk (WRX) had gearbox troubles and had to retire. Terry Hughes/Monique Smith broke rear suspension arms in their Daihatsu Applause also losing them a chunk of time.

Floating curtain of Mud

In the late afternoon the rain eased and the breeze dropped. With repeat passes over the stages the dust was hanging longer. In the twilight and evening the visibility with the dust was well reduced in places. Driving slowly caused Neil Trethowen/Dannielle Turton to retire their Mitsubishi Lancer when they got bogged. Trying to get the car out caused a fan belt failure. Overheating and a flat battery ensued.

Top Ten

After seven stages the results were in.

Alex and Lisa White brought their S13 Nissan Silvia to tenth place. Graham Iddles/Jim Marquet had a clean run and made ninth in their WRX hatch. Ben Perard/Chris Parish had a new Spec C WRX and were feeling their way. After a couple of early spins they drove neatly to eighth. Kody Reynolds/Anthony Staltari were new to 4WD in their WRX. They had a good run and finished in a solid seventh.

Mid Pack

Mike & Jack Civil had engine troubles just before the Karri Rally. Their Evo 9 snapped a camshaft the week before and rapid repairs were needed. Luckily everything went well on the event and they finished sixth.  Chard Marshall/Simon Glossop hadn’t been out for a run in a few years. They drove well in their WRX and finished a strong fifth.

2WD splits 4WD

Joss/Logue may have knocked the rear bumper off their Silvia however it didn’t stop them trying. They brought their naturally aspirated S15 to fourth place and second 2WD. Nic Box/Todd Payne were inspiring to watch. Committed as ever the pair charged hard in their S13 Silvia and took a podium place in third. The Nissan also took 2WD honours in the bargain. The duo were some three minutes clear of fourth place by rally’s end.

Steve Oxley/Michael Wood kept it clean in the conditions with a podium finish as the reward. The pair have certainly found their feet with their WRX STi Hatch. A win on the Safari Rally last year and second place at the Karri shows they are definite title contenders.

Holding on for the win

O’Dowd/Wilde won the rally by just over a minute. It was a great way to open their championship account, although it wasn’t all plain sailing. They put the car into the scenery on the left hand side causing damage. At one point Wilde had to hang onto the door and read the notes. A damaged latch allowed the passenger door to swing freely during the stage!

Round two of the championship will see us return to Busselton and Nannup in late April. The Forest Rally is the biggest rally on the calendar and will stretch over 2 ½ days and cover more than 200km of special stages.

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