THE Motor Sports Club of Tasmania will conduct the fourth and final round of the Tasmanian rally series next Saturday in the Saddleback, Evercreech and Tower Hill area around Mathinna with series leader Marcus Walkem and co- driver Damian Grimwood hoping to wrap up the title.
The Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 team will go into the round with a 14-point lead after recording four heat wins, a second and a seventh place in the completed six heats.
Second generation driver Walkem narrowly missed out on the title last year and will be aiming to make amends for the disappointment while Grimwood will be looking to score back-to- back co-driver titles.
Former champion Andrew Wylie and Matt Best have enjoyed a consistent year in the Subaru WRX scoring three seconds, two thirds and a fourth place and while they may not have the pace of the Mitsubishi team, a title win is not out of the question.
Craig Brooks and Daniel Willson are not in contention for the series win in the Subaru WRX and could provide an upset if the car is reliable and they have no issues with the scenery.
Relative newcomer Keith Abblitt and co-driver Adrian Hodgetts have been very impressive this year in the Subaru WRX scoring two thirds, two fourths and two sixth places and while they also are out of title contention, the Coastal team will be aiming for a podium finish.
The two-heat, 10-stage event will start from Mathinna at 9am with the first car due back at Archers Manor about 6pm.
In total the cars will cover 177 competitive kilometres over very demanding roads with significant elevation changes and variable road conditions so just to get to the finish will be an achievement.
Frosty at last
THE Ford Performance Racing team of Mark "Frosty" Winterbottom and Steven Richards proved to be popular winners of last weekend's Bathurst 1000 and it was a rewarding result, particularly for Winterbottom, after trying for 10 years to win the race.
And what better way to respond to the announcement on the Saturday that the Ford Motor Company would continue to financially support the team for another two years.
Four-time winner and defending series champion Jamie Whincup really applied the blowtorch to Winterbottom in the final leg of the race and despite a gutsy challenge on the last lap had to settle for a fighting second place in the Red Bull Holden.
There were a couple of standout performances in the race that went largely unnoticed in the heat of battle and one was the excellent sixth place recorded by young gun Scotty Pye and veteran Paul Morris in the Holden.
They slipped under the radar for most of the race and proved that if you can be on the lead lap after the final pit stop there is a chance of a good result.
The international team of Andy Priauix and Mathias Ekstrom finished 10th outright in the Triple 888-prepared Holden and at one point led the race before they were forced to make a pit stop that put them out of sequence with the lead pack.
Ekstrom in particular was very impressive recording competitive times despite the fact that he was driving a V8 Supercar after very limited private practice and he had never raced at Bathurst before.
The best finish by the Erebus Mercedes AMG team was Lee Holdsworth and Craig Baird in 14th and the best placing by the Nissan Altima was James Moffat and Taz Dougles in 18th.
It was a solid result for the Bathurst debutantes as they at least finished on the lead lap.