Rullo and Marquet win WA Rally season opener

Wednesday 17 April, 2024
Photos: Unlabelled Photography and Jarrod Sierociak
Alex Rullo’s remarkable start to the 2024 season has continued after the Bosch Motorsport Australia Rally Championship (ARC) star claimed the opening round of the Motorsport Australia WA Rally Championship over the weekend.
Fresh from a podium at the Techworkz Automotive Rally of Canberra, Rullo secured the victory over 21 crews at the Winvale Stages alongside co-driver James Marquet.
In what proved a thrilling duel against Dylan King and Daymon Nicoli, Rullo and Marquet managed to steer their Hyundai i20 Rally 2 car to a four-second victory after a back-and-forth battle.

Despite the constant pressure from King and Nicoli, Rullo led the field for the whole event after winning the opening stage and maintaining a slight buffer over the Yaris for the remaining nine stages.
King and Nicoli got their first win on stage two before Rullo and Marquet claimed a four and half second win on stage three – the biggest victory of the day – to move out to a six second lead.
Another stage win on the fourth saw the gap between the top two crews to more than seven seconds before King’s second stage win of the day reeled in Rullo ever so slightly.

A win of five-tenths on stage six saw Rullo's lead extdended to almost eight seconds before King clicked into gear and responded with three consecutive stage wins, bringing the margin down to two seconds ahead of the final stage.
A brilliant run from Rullo and Marquet saw them take out the final stage by two seconds – doubling their gap over King and Nicoli to secure the win by four seconds.
While the two front runners were in a league of their own, Peter Rullo and Ben Searcy emerged as the best of the rest, steering their Hyundai i20 Rally 2 car to the final place on the podium.

Although the battle for third wasn’t as close as that for the outright victory, there was no shortage of drama as Rullo and Searcy ended up finishing seven seconds ahead of Thomas Loughton and Michael Lloyd.
Completing the top five was Craig Rando and Scott Beckwith, who had comfortably occupied third place until the event’s seventh stage. 

Up until that stage, the Subaru GD STI drivers had built a buffer of 15 seconds over Loughton and Lloyd by the fifth stage, which had been reduced to 11 seconds at the sixth.

However, the combination of a strong performance from Peter and a forgettable run by Rando on the seventh stage saw the battle for third flip on its head, as Peter and Searcy went 28 seconds faster to jump to third from fifth.
Loughton then managed to slot into fourth overall after going faster than Rando on two of the last three stages to take out fourth by six seconds.
Not only did Loughton and Lloyd win the battle for fourth, but they also took out top honours in the Production Cup over Rando and Beckwith, while Dale Faulkner and Rachael Ferrante rounded out the class podium.

In other class results, Tony Oates and Niamh Nairn win the 2WD Cup in their Honda Civic and the Hyundai Excel of Luke Dunkley and Alexander Baird win the six-stage Clubman Cup.

View the full event results. 
The next round of the Motorsport Australia WA Rally Championship will be the 2024 Forest Rally, which also serves as part of the ARC season, on 17-19 May. 
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