State News: Kirup’s course to change championship

The CAMS Onslow Contracting Western Australian Rally Championship (WARC) is heading to the forests of Grimwade and Kirup this Saturday, 7 July for its fourth round.

Hosted by the Ascot Motor Club, The Wheels on Yirrigan Kumho Tyre Kirup Stages will have six special stages, covering 127 competitive kilometres.

With 80 points available in the championship’s penultimate round, the course may have a significant impact on the results, with Clerk of Course Tony Floyd revealing lots of tweaks have been made to it.

“We’ve made a host of changes to all three stages this year,” Floyd said.

“Some rearrangements, some new sections and a bit of reversed direction, all in the aim of finding winter friendly roads and adding distance.

“All start and stop points have changed from last year. The least altered is New Dragon, but it is now SS2 and SS5 when it was SS3 and SS6 last year. A couple of new sections have been added and should be interesting.

“SS1 and SS4 Snakey has a host of new road sections and the feel is quite different after the loggers thinned the pine forest, which has opened up the vision of the road. It does retain the blue gum jump and creek crossing, but now finishes where it used to start.

“The sting in the tail is the Big Zig Zag, so named because last year’s Zig Zag has grown into the longest stage, and it once more runs through the area near the airstrip.”

While the new changes to the course will throw a curve ball at the championship standings, it creates a level playing field for all drivers including championship leader, Maximum Motorsport’s John O’Dowd.

Sitting on top of the WARC standings with a margin of 38 points over second placed Stephen Oxley, O’Dowd will be looking to put last year’s result behind him and build on his small lead.

Facing issues throughout last year’s event, O’Dowd showed great adversity in the final stages to secure second place outright, falling short to only Oxley.

“Last year Kirup was a bit of a test of character,” O’Dowd said.

“In the end, we won the last two stages and managed to hold on to second overall. But it was a pretty difficult event. We’re hoping to turns things around this year.

“Stephen (Oxley) had a great run at Kirup last year. We’ve got a 38 point lead on him in the championship at the moment. But the way the points are allocated in the WARC, 38 points isn’t a big lead. So for these next events, Kirup and the Experts Cup, we’ll really have to be on our game.”

The WARC isn’t the only championship to compete at Wheels on Yirrigan Kumho Tyre Kirup Stages with the WARC 2WD Championship, Clubman Masters and Clubman Cup Competitors also reaching the pointy end of their season

Information Proficiency Sigma’s Alex and Lisa White lead the WARC 2WD Championship by a comfortable 64 points, while Graeme and Kathy Miles and their Mitsubishi Lancer occupy top spot in the Clubman cup with a lead of 46 points.

The Wheels on Yirrigan Kumho Tyre Kirup Stages will commence on Saturday morning at Jim MacDonald Oval, Kirup with the first car to take off at 1pm.

Click here for more information on the CAMS Onslow Contracting Western Australian Rally Championship.