Image: Tim Allott.
WA Rally championship leader Doug Tostevin is all set for the popular Expert’s Cup on Saturday, at the halfway mark of the 2016 season.
Meandering 213kms through the picturesque Bussell Plantation and the forests surrounding Collie and Wellington Dam, it’s technical rather than a high speed rally and suits Tostevin’s driving style.
Tostevin heads Michael Steele and young gun Dylan King for the outright title, while Padbury’s Razvan Vlad has the 2WD lead over Andy Van Kann and Shane Harmer.
“Collie is probably my favourite round,” he said. “The roads are fun and fairly safe and the reduced distance makes it easier to commit the course to memory.”
In a spectacular display of driving earlier this month, Tostevin and co-driver Tammy Adams claimed an impressive seven stage wins for their S Technic team in the MRF Tyres Boddington Rally.
The highly technical 95km course – round three of seven in the Onslow Contracting championship – was an unknown challenge on a completely new layout, close to the townsite.
It was as tough as clerk of course Wendy Walker promised with several frontrunners failing to finish.
She also predicted the front wheel drives would fare well, with father and daughter Gregory and Deeanne Flood’s GF Electrical Mitsubishi Lancer taking third outright and top rung on the 2WD podium.
Leading the 4WD charge into Boddington, Steele and co-pilot Tracey Dewhurst were just 10 seconds shy when things came unstuck and their Japline WRX broke a driveshaft, blowing away their podium chances.
Razlan Vlad is surprised he’s still leading the 2WD championship, ahead of Van Kann’s 40-year-old classic Toyota TE27, after missing Boddington.
“The MAXYRally Ford Fiesta car is ready to go, but Collie hasn’t treated us well in the past,” he said. “I do love the rally though and I’m looking forward to it.”
Meanwhile, WA’s Tom Wilde is on a high after his first podium of the 2016 Kumho Tyre Australian Rally Championship.
The Nannup cheesemaker was third at the International Rally of Queensland, a notoriously tough and technical event not made any easier by the torrential rains that battered the Sunshine Coast.
“It was extremely slippery,” Wilde said. “For us, with our car being lower horsepower, it allowed us to drive through it and keep the forward momentum.”
Despite the trying conditions Wilde was consistently fast and kept his STI on the road, despite a hairy sixth gear moment sliding wide into a turn at 195km/h – “I thought we were going to end up in the tree.”
But the best can handle the extreme and Wilde recovered, without stopping, and was still fourth fastest on the stage.
“The plan was always to keep the car on the road and that was actually pretty hard,” Wilde said.
But his Maximum Motorsport team mate Brad Markovic’s ordinary season continued.
He fell foul to the muddy roads on the first stage when his Subaru slid wide on a tight lefthander and locked in third gear, which took a crushing 25 minutes to bump out.
In April he lost a car in a freak fire at the Quit Forest Rally. In May, he ventured to the National Capital Rally with a new car, but was rattled after being first on the scene of another competitor’s car fire.
Tasmanian Craig Brooks’ car was engulfed by flames following a major crash. While he and his co-driver were unhurt, Markovic was shaken by the incident.
“Seeing that has messed me around a bit,” he said.
Ultimately though, it was ongoing suspension issues that led to Markovic’s exit.
The next ARC round is Rally SA in September.
Matt Mingay, arguably the top stuntman in Australian motorsport, continues his battle after his horrific crash in the US and friends have gathered around. Check it out on www.gofundme.com/mingayfund
Main Photo: Doug Tostevin and Tammy Adams take out Boddington. Picture: Tim Allott.