The Chadstone Chrysler Safari was held on February 10.
VRC Round 1 – COCCV Chadstone Chrysler Safari
“Chrysler Safari” tied!
It would be a tie for first place in the first round of the 1979 Victorian Rally Championship, The Chrysler Safari , setting the tone for a closely fought 1979 VRC.
The fully route charted event started at the sponsor’s Chadstone showrooms and the thirty nine starters transported to the hills south of Traralgon.
The first stages through the pine forests around the Grand Ridge Road were considered to be a pretty rough , with Hugh Bell / Damien O’Reilly having to repair their rear suspension with a loss of ten minutes. Retirements came fast , with Ian Swan / Derek Rawson suffering a con rod out through the block . Then Chris Power / Fred Lakerink ran out of lights, and John Armitage / Phil Rainer had persistent problems in the 180B SSS.
Dust was becoming a serious issue, not only for the competitors, but also for spectators, with a few incidents.
All servicing was carried out at a central control north of Yarram. At the first service, the scores were very close, with Portman / Runnalls leading on 26, followed by Uttleymoore / Bond on 27, Smith / Paterson on 28 , and the Browns and the Fitchers equal on 29.
Three competitives totalling 72 kilometres looped the crews back to the central control, where Portman / Runnalls had extended their lead.
One section remained ; the longest and roughest of the event. Crews faced 53 instructions over 97 kilometres of a combination of road conditions. Unfortunately Geoff Portman hit a big kangaroo at high speed, and instantly retired whilst leading. David Jones also retired his Lancer with universal joint failure.