Couple clinches Victorian rally title

A BENDIGO couple have shown the value of intimately knowing your co-driver by winning the Victorian Rally Championship.

Tristan Penhall and Jolie Middleton raced to victory in Rally Victoria at Warragul, the final round of the VRC, to clinch the overall title.

Across six rounds, the Penhall Motorsport crew avoided mechanical dramas and kept cool heads to claim the chequered flag in their Subaru WRX STI rally car.

Flying around the dirt track at 130kmh brings its obvious stresses, but Middleton said the couple worked well as a team.

“Things sometimes naturally get a little heated in the car when one of us mucks up and we find ourselves dodging boulders, trees and steep drops, but we both know our roles so any frustration is more focused at ourselves than each other,” said the co-driver.

“Besides what goes on in the car stays in the car.”

The couple started rallying together and have steadily improved to claim their maiden title.

"We’re rapt,” said driver Penhall, who is a Victorian Autocross Series champion.

"It just proves that hard work and dedication does pay off.

"And with not one mechanical issue on any scale all year, I really want to thank our service crew and sponsors who have not only helped at events, but also in preparations before events.

"We couldn’t have done it without them. Rallying really is a team effort.

"In many ways it is a win for local sponsorship.

"Our major sponsors are local businesses who have backed a small local rally team competing against bigger teams.”

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