The 2019 CAMS P3 Solutions Queensland Rally Championship got underway over the weekend with the inaugural Rally Whitsundays Airlie Beach. It was a solid win by Maruis Swart and Alan Stean in their VW Polo S2000.
The local council and township got behind the rally that featured eight special stages, including two spectator friendly SSS of 1.22km up to two 21.14km stages. In total there was just under 80km of competitive stage distance.
Swart/Stean took just the one stage win on their way to victory. It was their ability to stay out of trouble that ensured they would take the top step.
They were involved in a fight with Erik Johnsson/Matt van Tuinen in their Subaru WRX STi, Wayne Morton/Kirra Penny in their Toyota Corolla S2000 and Glen Brinkman/Harvey Smith in their Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9.
Johnsson was returning to the driver’s seat after a nine year gap. He was challenging for the win, showing great pace on the first three stages before experiencing a mechanical issue on SS4 where the engine gave out on a long fast section.
Brinkman/Harvey were the fastest of the crews on the rally, taking the stage wins on SS1, 6, 7 and 8 but had mechanical difficulties meaning they missed SS3 and 4, meaning they could not be classified.
Next on the list was Morton/Penny who won SS3 and looked on for a podium all day, if not an outside chance for a win. But a massive 10 minute penalty for early check in to the Street stage dropped them to 16th in the overall standings.
That left Swart/Stean to take the win by almost a minute despite taking a 20 second penalty themselves.
In second was Brayden and Blake Wilson in their Evo 5 who were, in turn, 56 seconds ahead of Craig Aggio/Megan Benson in their Toyota KE30 Corolla. Aggio/Benson also took out the Classic class win.
In all there were 19 finishers from the 31 cars that started the rally.
The next round of the Queensland Rally Championship takes place with the SR Automotive Manumbar Rally on 15 June.
The RacerViews info
By Sam Tickell
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