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Eli Evans and Glen Weston (Honda Jazz) have won Heat One of the Quit Forest Rally, the second round of the East Coast Bullbars Australian Rally Championship (ARC), today.
Evans and Weston, who are the reigning ARC and Quit Forest Rally champions, finished the Heat with a 44.7 second advantage over nearest rivals and local favourites Tom Wilde and Bill Hayes (Renault Clio R3).
A punctured tyre on the second forest stage of the day all but ruined Scott Pedder and Dale Moscatt’s (Renault Clio R3) chances of taking the Heat victory but they clawed their way back up the time sheets with some blistering times in the middle of the day to finish third.
“We had a great day, we stayed out of trouble, just kept it neat and the Honda Jazz was spot on as usual, didn’t miss a beat,” Evans said.
“Sweeping the roads was interesting but I just adjusted my driving style to what I thought would work and it seemed to work pretty well. Winning today gives us 40 points which sets us up for the weekend so we’ll try and win tomorrow but if we can’t we’ll try and win the event whether that means second or third in the Heat,” he continued.
Wilde is looking to become the first West Australian to win back-to-back ARC titles at the event (last year in the 4WD category) since Ross Dunkerton in 1977/78. However, despite the advantage of growing up just kilometres from the rally stages he wasn’t able to match the times of Evans.
“I know the roads, but the commitment you need at this level is high and having a new co-driver and a new 2WD car which drives differently to what I am used to is probably slowing us down a tiny bit. But other than that I’m really happy with how we’re going,” Wilde said.
Pedder, who has returned to the ARC in 2013, is also behind the wheel of a Renault Clio R3 for the first time at this event.
“The times are slower than what we used to do with the 4WD cars but anyone that thinks a front-wheel-drive car is boring needs to come out and watch because there are some great drivers having a good go and the cars are fantastic,” Pedder said.
In the West Australian Rally Championship field, Leigh Hynes/Stuart Percival took the lead off reigning WARC champions Alex Stone/Hanna Drury on the opening stage of the day and were looking set to take the Heat victory until an electrical issue forced them to withdraw from the day with just the two short Nannup Oval stages remaining.
Stone ended up winning the Heat by more than 3 minutes ahead of Dylan King/Lee Tierney in second and Mark Davies/Greg Flood in third.
The Clubman Cup Series was won by Mark and Angela Travers and the Classic Rally Challenge by Stephen Horobin and Nick Ryan. At the completion of SS7 Kinky 7 Cody Crocker leads the Side-by-Side (all terrain) competition and Ben Grabham the Moto.
The competitors are now heading to Busselton to contest the opening stage of Heat Two, the Busselton Toyota Super Special Stage around the Busselton foreshore.
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