Rooklyn takes second in F2 at Rally of Melbourne

Podium Finish For Yachtsman-Turned-Rally Driver Former professional yachtsman Warwick Rooklyn has taken second outright in the F2 division of the Australian Rally Championship in his debut year in the sport. Rooklyn and experienced co-driver...

Podium Finish For Yachtsman-Turned-Rally Driver

Former professional yachtsman Warwick Rooklyn has taken second outright in the F2 division of the Australian Rally Championship in his debut year in the sport.

Rooklyn and experienced co-driver Linda Long, both of Sydney, took their Daihatsu Charade to second place in Heat One and first place in Heat Two, during this weekend's Rally of Melbourne, the final round of the 2001 ARC series.

"It's certainly been a steep learning curve this year, but I've really enjoyed the challenge, and ending up second to Andrew Hannigan and his Charade is very satisfying. We're both looking forward to doing even better next year," Rooklyn says.

Hannigan wrapped up the F2 category without even needing to contest the Melbourne round, but former circuit racer Rooklyn had to do battle with six fairly evenly matched rivals to take second place. He says the car - and the crew - just got better as the weekend went on.

"There were some terrific stages in the Melbourne event and we both really enjoyed it. But there was one 17km gravel stage in particular which was really fast and tricky and we were averaging over 100kmh throughout it. We picked up an extra 21 seconds on Sunday from our time through the same stage on Saturday.

"It was absolutely perfect, a really clean run, and it's a really good feeling when it all comes together like that. Linda has a lot more experience at this game than me and she's been a major factor in achieving this result, and everything we've done this year."

Rooklyn stopped racing cars in 1995 and went back to sailing. Early this year, the motorsport bug bit again and he contemplated running a Porsche in Nations Cup. However, a chance to jump in a car with former F2 rally ace Rick Bates changed everything: Rooklyn decided rallying looked like more fun.

"The crunch was whether I'd be quick enough, because I hadn't raced for five years and certainly never on dirt. When I found I was still fairly quick, I decided to have a go. It's not a life-long ambition. It wasn't even planned. Four weeks before I bought the car, I'd never seen a rally car before and then it happened. I'm really enjoying it."

The AussieDuct Rally of Melbourne was the fifth and final round of the 2001 driver's championship. It consisted of 183km of competition over two days, five stages each on Saturday and Sunday (September 1-2). The final stage was a 3.31km sprint among the vineyards at the De Bortoli Winery, in the Yarra Valley, east of Melbourne.

The event was won outright by Subaru's Possum Bourne, taking a record sixth Australian Rally Championship crown, from arch-rival Neal Bates, having his final run in the factory-backed Toyota Corolla World Rally Car.

-WR-

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About this article
Series Other rally
Drivers Neal Bates , Rick Bates