In our continuing coverage from the Australian Rally Championship and the International Rally of Queensland we take a look at the action from the Australian Rally Championship stages.
Scott Pedder was in a massive battle with Honda’s Eli Evans but came unstuck on the second-to-last stage, throwing away a certain podium
Justin Dowel, the 2011 Champion took out his Volkswagen Golf for its second outing. It was brilliantly turned out fast becoming a crowd favourite. He did have some mechanical difficulties over the weekend
Brett Middleton in the MRT Subaru Forester sorted the mechanical problems that had plagued the previous couple of rallies, putting in a strong performance. It is a shame that the SUV class has not taken off
Jack Monkhouse put in a massive – and fan funded effort to make it to Rally Queensland. It didn’t all go to plan with mechanical issues on the Saturday but he did return for Sunday’s action in his Nissan Silvia
Brenden Reeves had good pace but didn’t finish day two. He will now rally in America before coming back for the Coffs Coast Rally
The Renault team took second with Tom Wilde. They are getting on top of the Renault and a win is surely not far away
It was another win for Eli Evans, taking their 10th in a row
It was a great weekend in the 4WD class for John Mitchell, taking out both heats. He now sits equal second in that Championship
More photos after the text
The rally in brief – courtesy of the ARC
Eli Evans and Glen Weston continue to re-write the record books having today claimed their tenth victory in a row at the International Rally of Queensland. Scott Pedder had pushed Evans hard throughout the weekend until drama struck on the penultimate stage when Pedder went off the road.
“I don’t know why I do these rallies, it’s so stressful!” exclaimed a relieved and exhausted Evans at the event finish. “I don’t think the win has sunk in yet, I have spent the last two days constantly worried about Scott (Pedder), so to have him go off is surreal.”
The pace was red hot between the pair all weekend, Evans taking a second or two off Pedder, then Pedder hitting back, and while Evans held a more than 20 second lead overnight the pace was unrelenting throughout today’s stages.
“I knew I had to press on,” explained Eli. “I knew if we took it easy even for a split second he (Scott) could have gotten ahead. I also knew something had to give though, something was going to happen to either Scott or myself, and in the end it was Scott who hit trouble.”
“Scott Pedder is without a doubt the meanest competitor I’ve ever competed against, he never gives up and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every minute rallying against him this season!” Eli added.
Pedder had occupied second place, but with his charge blunted that allowed Renault Sport teammate Tom Wilde into his place. It seems fitting for Wilde who today celebrates his 26th birthday.
“A really tough event but we got through,” said Tom. “I was conscious to keep a consistent pace over the weekend, I knew we wouldn’t be able to match Eli or Scott, so I was happy to get through.”
“We leave this weekend with a heap of points and that’s great for our Championship campaign. I started the weekend aiming to leave in a better position in the points race and that’s exactly what we’ve managed to do.”
Disappointment on the one hand for one Pedder but elation for another, with Mark Pedder picking up the pieces to finish third. “A 1-3 finish for Honda and fantastic to be back on the podium,” he said.
“This weekend was a total battle of attrition. After recce I knew these roads would be punishing and so tricky, so I knew if I drove with caution it could pay off and it has!” Mark added.
Despite the disappointment of dropping out of contention Scott Pedder would get going again and ended the rally in fourth behind his brother. “Hugely disappointing, we just came into a tight uphill hairpin and I think I hit a big rut which sent us off the outside of the corner and off the road,” explained a downbeat Pedder.
“To make it worse we got bogged and as we were trying to get the car out I had climbed into the boot to try to get some traction. Dale (Moscatt, co-driver) was driving and as he went forwards I tried to get out and caught my right foot between the spare and the wheel nut gun. I think I’ve sprained it, I hope it’s just a sprain!”
Feeling the pain Pedder opted to let Moscatt drive the car on the transports between the penultimate and final stage, and then into service and across the podium.
“Both Eli and I pushed so hard this weekend, so something had to give eventually. The most disappointing thing is the points we gave away to Eli now, he’s probably two-thirds of a rally up on us now, so unless he has a major issue in one of the next two events it’s not looking good,” Scott added.
A fine fifth for West Australian Nicholas Box, the pace continuing to build from his Nissan 370Z as he makes forward progress with the development event by event.
“We had braking issues yesterday that we fixed this morning. The car is going well, we’ve made some suspension changes and made it a lot less nervous,” Box stated.
While Mick Patton played it cautious to claim sixth for the weekend, the Canberran driver playing it safe having seen his fellow VW drivers Michael Boaden and Justin Dowel sidelined, with Luke Page in his Toyota Corolla the final ECB ARC front runner in seventh.
Bitter disappointment once again for Brendan Reeves when he stopped on SS18, the Mazda2 suffering another broken driveshaft, Reeves imploring his team to investigate the cause and to rapidly find a solution to the continued problem.
Meanwhile after burning the midnight oil to rebuild his engine Jack Monkhouse made it to the final stage of the day only to once again grind to a halt.
For more of our IROQ coverage check out
Photos by Sam Tickell, July 2013
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