Evans re-writes ARC history books
- 26th May 2013, 8:46pm
Nine wins from nine events, that’s Eli Evans' record after this weekend’s Scouts Rally SA. His victory this weekend puts him ahead of rally legend Possum Bourne, and in the process into the history books, although Evans was quick to praise his hero and stress that he was just pleased to give Honda another triumph.
“It’s been another really incredible weekend for us, for Honda and for our entire team,” exclaimed Evans at the rally finish ramp. “We are at the mid-point in the season and to be ahead in the points is a great feeling.”
Asked how he felt to have re-written the record books, Evans said: “That’s something I never thought anyone would achieve, let alone for me to achieve it. Possum Bourne was a great competitor, but he won seven Championships consecutively. I’ve got one Championship under my belt, I’d be thrilled if I could ever equal that record!”
From the start of the day Evans established a strong lead over Scott Pedder, the two resuming their Heat One battle, with Evans up 6.6 seconds on the first stage and then extending it by a further 3.2 seconds on the second.
By the third stage of the day, the short 6.46km Cromer, Pedder hit back but was only able to claw back just half a second on Evans. Pedder would back that stage win up with another late in the day on the fifth stage, but Evans would claim the remaining stages and would end the Heat by 17.9 seconds.
“We had a few problems yesterday, but today has been better. Actually I’d say today has been OK. We’re just not fast enough to beat Eli at the moment,” Pedder said.
“On the stages that were new I did well, on the rest, which the other guys had driven before, I just didn’t have the experience to really push to the absolute limit. We go to Queensland behind in the points but definitely within striking distance if Eli has even a single problem,” Pedder added.
Finally a trouble free weekend for Brendan Reeves allowed him and the Rallyschool.com.au team a chance to show that their Mazda2 is well and truly competitive, finishing third today 34.1 seconds down.
“It’s been great, a trouble free rally at last! It’s been a huge team effort. I know third isn’t as good as first but I’m just glad to get to the finish. I came here this weekend wanting to move up the points in the Championship and we’ve been able to achieve that,” Reeves said.
Tom Wilde was puzzled to be so far adrift yesterday, and while he finished fourth today over a minute and a half down, he was happy to have increased his speed and consistency over the course of the weekend in his Renault Clio.
Mark Pedder was locked in a ding-dong battle with Michael Boaden throughout the day, Pedder able to edge ahead on the very last stage to claim fifth, the pair split by just 0.9 seconds.
“I had the lead going into the last but it slipped away,” Boaden lamented. “Can’t complain though. Sixth is great and I never expected to be dicing it out with one of the Honda’s at this stage in the season.”
For Mark Pedder it was a relief to sneak past Boaden, as well as to get to the end of a rally weekend without drama. “I was happy to get through both days, and my times got better and better. I did have a massive moment on the Goldsfields stage, my fault, it was a bad pace note!”
A quartet of Ford’s rounded out the final placings, Molly Taylor leading home team mate Adrian Coppin, while Steve Mackenzie netted ninth ahead of Tony Moore in tenth.
Both Jack Monkhouse and Will Orders began the day determined to make up for their respective headaches during yesterday’s opening Heat. By the end of the day they probably both wished they’d packed up early and headed home, with both Nissan drivers sidelined with suspected blown engines.
Likewise Nicholas Box, who landed heavily yesterday and smashed his 370Z’s radiator, made overnight repairs and featured during the morning stages before he too pulled up with over heating concerns.
The Classic Spirit award went the way of Neville Whittenbury who fought bravely into second in his Datsun 180B, only to watch Neal Bates disappear into the distance to claim victory in the Classic category.
Bates though had concerns earlier in the day when he suffered an oil surge in his Celica’s diff. “It was on the tarmac section in Kanmantoo. The diff ran dry, it was so noisy at times I couldn’t even hear Coral’s pace notes!”
Back in the safety of service, Bates’ crew changed the diff to their spare, which Bates later admitted was a ‘second hand of a second hand’. “So I took it extremely easy throughout the rest of the day!” he added.
With third place in the Classics, Fro Horobin expects to maintain the points lead despite Bates’ victory, confirming he would go to Queensland to try to keep his slender advantage.
“So many skids and slides this weekend, the car has been reliable though,” Horobin said. “My plan is to go to Queensland in six weeks. You’ve got to be in it to win it!”
In the National 4WD category Warren Lee found himself on the top of the podium after Heat One pace setter Declan Dwyer rolled heavily this morning, before Justin Dowel ended his turn in the lead with a blown engine.
With Dowel having put a $2,000 prize up for any driver who could beat him, the former Australian Rally Champion stood by his offer and confirmed that he’ll help Lee with parts, which was Lee’s preferred prize.
“It was shame to see Declan out this morning, and then for us to hit problems too. We’d been having an incredible fight. Its' great to see Warren win though, he deserved it, but he didn’t think it was a fair fight because we went out and he didn’t want to win the prize that way,” Dowel said.
“He deserved the win, I put a prize up and he earnt it. We’ve helped him with some parts for the weekend, and he said that’s what he’d prefer so that’s a good deal for everyone,” Dowele continued.
Lee, in his Mitsubishi Lancer, led home Michael Harding’s Subaru Impreza in second and Joshua Doyle’s Mitsubishi Lancer in third.
The East Coast Bullbars enters a mid-season break before the fourth Round, the International Rally of Queensland held over the 12th-14th July.
The Round also includes the third Round of the FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship, where fans will be able to see the ARC’s best against the APRC’s leading drivers including the front running Skoda’s of Gaurav Gill and Esapekka Lappi.
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