Sam Tickell was at Rally Australia. He caught some action for RacerViews over the weekend too. Here is the Australian categories in action.
Scott Pedder has finished Coates Hire Rally Australia, having led from start to finish, to beat home VW driver Mick Patton and Citroen’s Adrian Coppin. While the final margin was sizable it didn’t prove an easy day for Pedder who overcame a broken engine mount, an electrical concern and blown power steering to claim the win.
“I should be happy but its more just stress relief,” Pedder exclaimed. “What an unbelievable day. Probably the hardest,stressful day I’ve ever had in rallying. It’s been car dramas, good times, bad times and weird dramas at the worst possible places.”
Mick Patton, who was forced to withdraw from the last Round in South Australia, was equally relieved to make the finish to stand in second place on the podium alongside Pedder.
“At last! It’s been a long few weeks since SA, the team has done such a fantastic job, the car worked so well and that’s the main thing. That’s what I was trying to achieve this weekend, so just to get the car to the finish in one piece is unreal, with no major issues.”
“It hasn’t sunk in yet,” Mick continued. “Once I realise it’ll be good as gold!”
Brendan Reeves endured a true roller coaster ride at the recent World Championship Round in Coffs Harbour. After winning the ARMOR ALL Power Stage, his Mazda2 ground to a halt on the opening day of competition with a broken cam shaft, before he bounced back to set the pace on the second and third days.
“My focus now is completely on the last Round, I want a 100% perfect rally, a completely reliable event,” he said. “By my rough reckoning, and I have to sit down and properly work out every scenario, we have to win and Scott would need to finish lower than third.”
“It’s possible, Scott had problems at this event last year, and I felt this was one of our best events last year, so I do have confidence that an upset is possible.”
After a weekend of unprecedented challenges, the victory of finishing, as well as making the podium, was surreal for the drivers, and sweeter than ever.
“I am so excited to drive over the ramp of my WRC home event, and it’s a moment I will cherish for a long time. Somehow, we have managed to be here on the podium both in the ARC and our WRC3 class, where a lot of teams didn’t even get to finish, so it’s a great feeling,” says Coppin.
“I’m absolutely thrilled with our result, and this is a highlight of my career. If you were a betting man you’d say we were an absolute 300-to-1 long shot on Friday. It wasn’t the start we wanted, but the Citroen DS3 is a very very strong car and got us here in the end. Nothing that happened was the fault of the car, it’s just a tough rally by nature,” says Batten.
“Challenges come to mind when I reflect on this event. We were kicked, and we got back up, only to be kicked again, and again. Each time we got back up, all the way to the last stage where we rolled. Rally Australia was always going to be a challenge because we had never done it before and had no experience and local knowledge here. I was probably over exuberant with my numbering on the corner we rolled. It only takes ones wrong pace note to make a mistake like that,” says Sullens.
“The last stage was awesome up until the point we rolled. It’s a sweeter victory, but I really think it’s a relief we made it to the finish. After everything we have gone through, it’s a satisfying feeling,” says Barkley.
It proved to be a long road in developing his brand new Ford Fiesta ST, yet Steve Mackenzie was not only pleased to finally debut it at Rally Australia but equally happy with the performance straight out of the box.
Mackenzie admitted in the run up to the local Round of the World Rally Championship that he expected it would be a tough debut weekend, having only driven the car for the first time in the week prior. Despite a few teething issues over the opening two days he showed the cars true potential on the final day.
“We literally drove the car all of about ten kilometres in the week before the event, that was the first time I’d been able to drive it in anger. Then we did about another fifty kilometres during the test day on the Monday before the rally,” Steve said.
“I think it was actually a great weekend,” added Mackenzie. “We had some minor issues to work through, but that’s all part of learning a new car, and it’s given us some areas to work on now before the next event.”
Polaris Racing took the Rally Australia side x side title with rally veterans Cody Crocker and co-driver Greg Foletta taking first place for all three heats and ultimately the overall win in Coffs Harbour NSW on the weekend.
Rally Australia plays host to both the NSW round of the ARC and the Australian round of the WRC. The WRC is a real draw card for crowds with the international teams sparing no expense with their cars, teams and service set ups. For the side x side competitors there is a real buzz getting to race on the same stages as the best teams in the world.
Over the weekend the Polaris Racing team comprehensively held off all rivals as they blitzed the thirteen stages covering 189.93 competitive kilometres. Polaris also took out third place with some great driving feats from racers Swindale and Piper.
By Sam Tickell, September 2014
Words by PR materials
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