WA RALLY champion Dylan King competed in the World Rally Championships in Coffs Harbour last week only King was driving with Daymon Nicoli in the hot seat instead of his usual rally co-pilot, Abbey Hayes (20).
Hayes and King won this year’s West Australian Rally Car title and can now focus on the 2017 ARC Championships.
But with uni exams this year Hayes had to miss the NSW event and instead King roped in old friend Nicoli.
Living in Glen Forrest, King (22) has been driving for six years, so has some experience up his sleeve and racing in ARC was on his bucket list.
Driving rally car Subaru WRX spec C, the pair faced some of the world’s top drivers in the northern coastal town.
The November 17-20 event was the final round of the World Rally Championships (WRC).
“Since competing in my first rally at the age of 16 it has been a dream of mine to drive at a WRC event,” King said.
When he won the WA title with co-driver Hayes (20) this year he started to form a plan to try interstate as well.
Nicoli, also 22, brought a wealth of experience and knowledge to the WA Subaru team.
“I’m so excited to be given the opportunity to co-drive with Dylan. We have been good mates and competitors for a long time and I’m looking forward to being in the car with him,” Nicoli said before they left Perth.
The team finished in 10th place overall in the ARC, while Abbey’s father won the event, rally car driver Bill Hayes.
“We are really happy with our overall position, obviously would have loved a podium finish but considering it was the first event outside of WA, I am stoked.
“It was an amazing feeling just to finish the event and I owe it to Daymon and our amazing service team headed by Josh Pearce and Rob Webber,” said King.
The event posed a number of challenges for King and Nicoli who only had the one day to accustom themselves to the varying and very different road conditions from what they have experienced in the WARC series.
“The road conditions were really tough and taxing on the tyres and car. We made a poor tyre choice on day one electing to go for a medium compound. Consequently they were virtually destroyed after the second stage,” said King.
King’s times were competitive throughout day one and he was staying in touch with drivers like Evans, Bates and Taylor but car troubles struck and King lost time.
“Unfortunately at the end of SS6 we lost the centre diff which cost us a lot of time.
“Fortunately the guys were able to resolve the problem at service,” said Nicoli.
Day 2 and the team faced the well-known 50km Nambucca stage. Luck wasn’t on their side as part way through the stage they experienced turbo problems and were down on power.
They were able to fix this for the next stage and once again were competitive throughout the day. Unfortunately, on the last SSS stage of the day they had trouble with the gearbox.
“We broke the output shaft on the gearbox just off the start line so had to push the car out resulting in a derived time of seven minutes putting us behind again,” said King.
They had to replace the gearbox and incurred a four minute penalty. They were back on course on day three for the final day of competition. Given a podium was out of the picture the main aim was to finish the event,” Nicoli said.
“It was an overwhelming feeling to finish given what we went through to get here. It was such an amazing experience and I learnt so much. I couldn’t be happier with the season, first winning the WA championship with Abbey and then competing in my first WRC event,” King said.
“Now I’ve had a taste of the east coast, Abbey and I are going to do our best to make it to a few ARC rounds in 2017.”