Rally driver delivers

GRAFTON-born rally driver John Spencer led the way for team Australia in the World Rally Championship event held at Coffs Harbour at the weekend.

Spencer finished 15th to lead the Australians in the production car class and Australian Forest Rally Championship in his Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9.

Spencer, who is now based in Queensland, was aided by experienced navigator John Goasdoue.

The main event was taken out by Mikko Hirvonen in his Ford Fiesta RS WRC.

Hirvonen now trails championship leader Sebastian Loeb by 15 points with three rounds remaining.

Loeb was denied crucial championship points on Friday when he rolled his car and was unable to complete the stage.

But the champion rally driver struck back to win the Power Stage yesterday.

"It was a rally of firsts in many respects for us," Spencer said.

"It's the first time I've raced this particular car, which I bought especially for Rally Australia, and it's also the first time I have had John as a co-driver.

"I raced my first rally in Grafton 30 years ago and never thought for one minute the coast would host a round of the World Rally Championships."

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