Round three of the Australian Rally Championship (ARC) has ended in devastating fashion for the Pedders Suspension Rally Team this weekend.

Scott Pedder and Jon Mortimer (Car 7) came into the Coffs Coast Rally in Coffs Harbour leading the ARC points table, with two event wins under their belt, and they leave in second position, 17 points behind Simon and Sue Evans.

A loose wire to the diff pump caused bad handling in the team's Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX in Heat One, but despite a puncture, several spins and an overshoot, they still managed to finish in second outright.

Coming into Heat Two, and needing to win at least five of the six stages to take the event win, Pedder and Mortimer attacked the course, leading by 27.8 seconds heading into the final stage (SS21).

“We knew that all we had to do was win the stage and we would take the event win but at the same time if Simon and Sue won the stage they would win the rally, so there was a lot of pressure,” Pedder said.

Disaster struck only a few kilometres into the stage when Pedder and Mortimer rolled their car.

“We were pushing very hard to try and win the stage and came over a little crest into a tight left hander and ran wide and up a bank. That brought the nose in and we hit a big rock that tipped us onto our roof and broke the steering which was unfortunate,” Pedder said.

The team's other crew, Mark Pedder and Lee Tierney (Car 8), showed the true spirit of rallying over the weekend, fighting on despite several potentially event-ending issues.

“It was a tough rally; we had a crash on Saturday which wasn’t great – we hit a couple of trees and had to be dragged out. Then we restarted and put in some reasonable stage times throughout the afternoon,” Mark Pedder explained.

“This morning through the first forest stage we blew the gearbox about one kilometre in, so we had to get a tow truck back to service then restart again.

“Once again, we put in a reasonable stage time after rejoining but then we stopped to put Scotty back on his wheels on the final stage so it was a tough rally, a very tough rally,” Pedder continued.

Asked why they kept going back out, he commented: “We’ve come all this way to Coffs and the roads this afternoon were outstanding and I really wanted to do 'Bushman' again because it's so much fun.”

“Also having a new co-driver in Lee, we just wanted to get as much time in the car and get used to each other and he was outstanding," Pedder added.

The team’s focus now shifts to Adelaide where Pedder and Mortimer will be looking to reclaim the lead in the championship and Pedder and Tierney will be hoping to continue to build on their new relationship in the car.

“Adelaide should suit the car well. I love that rally,” Scott Pedder said. ‘We'll just keep going ... 17 points is not a huge margin and anything can happen so we'll just keep going, fix the cars and go again."

Mark added: “The panel beater is going to make some decent money out of us in the next three weeks but I think the boys are pretty confident they can get the cars back to where they should be and so I’m just looking forward to getting to South Australia.”


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