Brendan Reeves went into the Alpine Rally full of optimism with a brand new Datsun 1600 that looked the goods, and sounded even better. Unfortunately the car – which Reeves has called "Datzilla" – was only finished just before the event got underway, with only a short shakedown run on his property at Wedderburn. The specification of the car had Datsun fans salivating at the thought of seeing the car in action, and when Reeves posted video of the car on the dyno last week, it was clear to see (and hear) that this was going to be a car to watch. But cars in major events that have had little or no testing rarely get through without problems, and this was the case for Reeves and co-driver Rhianon Gelsomino. Immediately the car was suffering from overheating engine oil which hampered its performance. Reeves could easily have pulled the pin and put the car back on the trailer, but he persevered to ensure that he not only got the car to the finish, but that he gave the hundreds of spectators the opportunity to see the car on the stages.

"I won't be using the handbrake again," Reeves said after a spin on stage one. Photo: Peter Whitten

Along with the car's teething problems, Reeves' lack of recent experience on non-pacenoted rallies probably paid a part in lack of speed. Yet the Alpine is rarely a rally where the fastest cars take all the top positions. In true Alpine style, as those around him crashed or broke down, Reeves kept on keeping on and ended the rally in sixth place. Not a bad result for a brand new car in an Alpine Rally. We look forward to seeing what Reeves and the Datsun can produced once they have everything dialled in.
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